Former Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd is back in the spotlight today, sitting down for an interview with Bleacher Report’s Matt Hayes. Hurd gave his fascinating side of why he left Tennessee and how he ended up playing receiver for the Baylor Bears.
After two and a half seasons of carrying the load for the Vols, Hurd says the physicality of the position was getting to him. The former five-star recruit had racked up over 2,600 yards on the ground already during his career, putting him 6th on the all-time rushing yards list for the Vols. Hurd could have easily taken the top spot on that list, maybe even by the end of the 2016 season.
Instead, Hurd had a change of position on his mind.
“I didn’t just do this on a whim. I researched it,” Hurd said. “Running backs last 3.5 years in the NFL. Wide receivers can last 10 or more years.”
Hurd saw the wear and tear and says he approached the coaching staff about changing how they used him.
“I woke up and thought, this isn’t going to last,” Hurd continued. “It could have lasted, but do you really want to cause that much harm to your body?” Hurd went to the Tennessee staff and asked to be used more on the perimeter and less between the tackles. He thought, who is going to cover, or bring down by himself, a 240-pound tailback in space?
According to Hurd, the staff shot that idea down and didn’t change how they used him. At 6-4, 240 pounds, Hurd did possess the size necessary to make such a move, but Butch Jones’ staff wasn’t interested.
A few games after making that request, Hurd suffered a concussion. Shortly after that, news broke that Hurd was leaving the football program.
The former mid-state standout prospect is now enrolled at Baylor, ready to play his final season of eligibility. Matt Rhule’s staff is high on Hurd and believes that he can be an immediate impact player. It will be fascinating to watch from afar and see how this experiment goes.
Hayes says that Hurd will begin playing out of the slot for Baylor, but will likely take time at each receiver spot. He may even return punts for the Bears.