Will Jalen Hurd emerge as top freshman running back in Georgia matchup?
Tennessee freshman Jalen Hurd is off to an impressive start to his collegiate career. Through three games, the Hendersonville, Tenn., native leads the Vols with 209 yards and a touchdown on 48 carries.
Hurd is averaging a team-best 4.35 yards per carry and has progressed statistically each game. He rushed for 29 yards in Week 1, 83 yards in Week 2 and 97 yards in Week 3.
On Saturday, the 6-3, 227-pound back will make his Sanford Stadium debut in his first matchup against the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs. Though many are focused on No. 1 running back Todd Gurley– a Heisman Trophy favorite– an interesting storyline is how Hurd will fare in comparison to Georgia’s standout freshmen.
Sony Michel (No. 19) and Nick Chubb (No. 33) both rated higher than Hurd (No. 40) in 247Sports’ composite rankings for the 2014 recruiting class. Both players are expected to make appearances in Georgia’s offense this weekend.
Michel enters with 206 yards, three touchdowns and a 10.30 average on 20 carries. Chubb currently has 114 yards, a touchdown and a 9.50 average on 20 attempts.
However, neither player is expected to carry the same load as Hurd, who has surpassed senior Marlin Lane as the feature back in Tennessee’s offense. Michel and Chubb, both receive solid playing time for their first season, but will get far less carries behind Gurley in the Bulldogs’ lineup.
Hurd will need to provide Tennessee with a strong performance against a heavily favored opponent. Georgia’s front 7 is impressive and will be a tough matchup given the Vols’ recent struggles on the offensive line.
But Hurd managed to see a career-best in yards against an Oklahoma defense that is one of the best in the nation. The freshman should continue to display his rapid progress and give the Vols a standout performance in Athens this weekend.