Last night Jalen Hurd offered his own thoughts on his decision to leave Tennessee:
Hurd confirms some of the rumors floating around Big Orange Country for the last week: that transferring is something he had considered for “quite some time”, multiple injuries including a concussion preventing him from playing against Texas A&M, and schematic fit.
Having Hurd’s own voice in the conversation offers more context; I doubt we’ll hear more from Butch Jones on this in detail, but Hurd does provide some clarity here. The majority of his language here, other than to offer thanks to Tennessee at the beginning and end, is on schematic fit. Many will agree Jalen Hurd was not a perfect fit for what Butch Jones and the Vols wanted to do offensively. But Hurd still ran for 2,187 yards in his freshman and sophomore seasons at 4.6 yards per carry. His ypc had dropped to 3.7 this season and he was particularly ineffective against Alabama (as are most) and South Carolina with 44 yards on 21 carries. But he still had 22 for 99 against Virginia Tech and 26 for 95 tough and important yards against Florida. And, as we all know, he would have had plenty of opportunities to get the school’s all-time career rushing record against the back third of this schedule, starting with Tennessee Tech on Saturday.
Hurd’s response also makes what the Vols can do with John Kelly and/or Alvin Kamara against a defense stronger than Tennessee Tech of particular interest going forward. Kamara had 127 yards on 18 carries at Texas A&M; John Kelly is averaging a ridiculous 7.8 yards per carry this season and will get a ton of opportunity now. Hurd may not have been a perfect fit for the system, but if the system is particularly effective without him I don’t think you’ll hear too many people wondering why Butch didn’t change it.
I hope things work out for Jalen Hurd at his next stop and/or in the NFL, and I do think it’s good he added his own voice to this story. Hopefully he and the Vols can continue to be successful now going their separate ways.