The Tennessee Volunteers picked up another grad-transfer over the weekend in the form of Madre London, a running back who is transferring from Michigan State.
London provides some veteran depth for a backfield that needed it. Tennessee has a trio of sophomore backs in Ty Chandler, Tim Jordan and Trey Coleman, along with freshman back Jeremy Banks. With John Kelly declaring for the NFL Draft and Carlin Fils-Aime flipping to the defensive side of the ball, the Vols were left without an upperclassmen in the equation.
London fixes that problem up and adds some size to Tennessee’s new-look rushing attack. I reached out to Kyle Thele — the editor of Michigan State’s SBNation site TheOnlyColors.com for more information on London.
“Madre London is a big, strong running back that can be an important part for any college offense,” Thele said. “After an impressive freshman year at Michigan State, he never really found the footing he needed to take the next step, possibly because of a crowded backfield with lots of young talent. Fumbles were something of an issue, but he is a talented back that can be a receiving threat out of the backfield. He may never be a workhorse back, but in a platoon he can still make big plays in big moments.”
A platoon role is likely what’s coming with London. Ty Chandler is likely to get the bulk of the load, but it remains to be seen what the new staff thinks of Jordan and Coleman. Four star back Jeremy Banks will factor into the equation too.
At worst, London gives Tennessee another body. If anyone understands the impact of injuries, it’s Tennessee fans. The Vols have been wrecked by injuries down the stretch of each of the past two seasons.
London served as the third back in Michigan State’s rotation last year, sitting behind LJ Scott and Brian Lewerke. He averaged just 3.7 yards per carry, compared to Scott and Lewerke’s 4.5. London’s best season was 2015, when he averaged 4.2 per carry as a freshman. Still yet, he was the second or third option in the backfield, with Gerald Holmes also in the equation.
With a bit of a transition year expected for the Tennessee football program, London can at least bridge the gap while Jeremy Pruitt’s staff stocks up the backfield. They missed on a couple of running back targets late in the 2018 cycle, so maybe London can serve as a bit of a band-aid for the 2018 season. It seems like London’s role in Knoxville shouldn’t amount to anything more than a rotational guy — but that’s a role that Tyson Helton and Chris Weinke needed to fill.