When your team averages fewer than 3 yards per carry throughout an entire season, changes have to be made, recruiting classes altered, coaches let go.
All of that has happened this offseason for a Tennessee Volunteers team that finished 116th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in rushing. The Vols went from having a graduate assistant coaching running backs to plucking UT legend and South Carolina RBs coach Jay Graham to teach runners in Knoxville. Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand was replaced. And, on Sunday, UT's search far and wide for another running back ended when Davante Bourque committed to the Vols.
Bourque -- a four-star prospect -- is labeled an athlete and was recruited by multiple top-notch teams to play wide receiver safety or linebacker. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound tailback continued to be recruited by UT recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph throughout his commitment to the homestate Tigers, and Graham helped seal the deal. The Vols promised Bourque a shot to play his high school position -- running back -- and he is Tennessee's third commitment at the position in this year's class.
Mid-term enrollee Alden Hill and Georgia running back Quenshaun Watson join the Crowley, La., athlete as players who Derek Dooley help boost a stagnant running attack.
According to Rivals, Bourque is a four-star and the No. 14-ranked athlete in the country, the 191st-ranked player overall. Scout lists him as a three-star running back, No. 29 at the position, ESPN rates him as a three-star athlete, and the 56th-ranked at his position. 247 Sports rates him as a four-star running back, the seventh-ranked all-purpose back in the country.
The running back visited Knoxville this weekend and loved what he saw, committing to the Vols after visiting Miami after decommitting from LSU. Bourque originally committed to Texas A&M but flipped to the Tigers. He and his family were not overly pleased with Les Miles and his recruitment, so he decided to look around. UT emerged as the frontrunner once he decided to go elsewhere, and he committed Sunday.
There is still a possibility he will take another visit to Ole Miss, Nebraska or Arizona State, but he hasn't decided. He also has been rumored to be an academic risk, though it appears he could be on track to qualify. Though he has been an elite running back in high school, scoring 40 touchdowns in a single season, some teams were concerned about his height as a runner.
Not the Vols, who believe he has the potential to be a marquee runner in the SEC sooner rather than later. His Rivals.com profile says that Bourque reminds them of Chicago Bears great Matt Forte, another Louisiana native. Bourque is the 21st public commitment for the Vols.
Other notes from a huge recruiting weekend has UT leading for three-star JUCO wide receiver Demetrius Wilson and back in the race for elite four-star defensive tackle Koren Kirven.