Jalen Hurd hopes to run into Tennessee record book
Jalen Hurd has been a model of consistency at Tennessee.
And if his junior year follows suit, he’ll soon become the Volunteers’ poster boy for rushing greatness.
Hurd, who averaged 4.7 yards per carry as a freshman and 4.7 yards as a sophomore, enters his junior season with 2,187 career yards. Tennessee’s career record is fewer than 900 yards away.
He’s just outside of the top 10 in career yards, but that will change, rapidly and progressively as long as he stays healthy in 2016.
Attention Tennessee all-time rushers, Jalen Hurd is coming for you. pic.twitter.com/xA2jt5HKrd
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) June 7, 2016
Hurd needs 150 yards to move past Travis Stephens into 11th on UT’s career list. Could he do that in the Sept. 1 Thursday night home opener against Appalachian State? At his previous rate, he’d need 32 carries. He’s topped 30 carries just once in two seasons. It’s unlikely he’ll get that many touches against what should be an overmatched defensive line, but the 150 certainly is attainable.
At any rate, he should zoom all the way into eighth all-time in the Week 2 showdown against Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway. He only needs 205 yards in two games to accomplish that.
From there, it’s just another 300 yards to move pass Jamal Lewis into fifth all-time. When better to accomplish that than in the fourth week, at home, against rival Florida?
Two road games follow, at Georgia and Texas A&M. The Bulldogs limited Hurd to 80 yards last season, his lowest output in a game in which he had at least 20 carries.
He’ll return home on Oct. 15 in the annual showdown with Alabama.
Aside from the obvious team goals at stake, Hurd could be within reach of an individual milestone: joining Travis Henry as the only backs in program history to reach 3,000 yards.
Whether Hurd reaches 3,000 before, during or soon after the Alabama game, he will have ample time to run past Henry, who set the standard with 3,078 yards.
When that happens, he’ll climb to the top of Tennessee’s rushing list and set a standard for others to reach.
Chris Wright is Executive Editor at SaturdayDownSouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.