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Ty Chandler named top breakout running back candidate by Athlon Sports

Will Chandler be the guy?

Tennessee v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tennessee is finally returning to a traditional, pro-style, I-formation attack under new offensive coordinator Tyson Helton, who comes in from USC. A new approach is welcomed after Butch Jones and Larry Scott put up a bottom ten total offense performance in 2017. A new direction was needed and that’s exactly what Tennessee got here.

So who is going to carry the load for Tennessee’s new under center, power look? The most obvious answer is Ty Chandler, who backed up John Kelly in 2017. The former four-star recruit showed us flashed of explosiveness, particularly against Kentucky.

For that reason, Chandler has been named a breakout running back candidate for 2018 by Athlon Sports. In a list of 30 candidates, Chandler was placed 10th overall. Here’s what Athlon had to say.

10. Ty Chandler, Tennessee

After working as the backup to John Kelly last season, Chandler is primed for a breakout season as Tennessee’s No. 1 option in the backfield. The Nashville native flashed potential in his true freshman campaign, recording 305 yards and two scores on 71 attempts. Chandler rushed for 120 yards against Kentucky and also scored once on a kickoff return versus Indiana State. Michigan State graduate transfer Madre London will push for time, but Chandler is the best all-around (and big-play) option for coordinator Tyson Helton.

Chandler was the 5th rated running back in all of the country and the 67th overall prospect in the 2017 class, according to 247 Sports. The talent is undeniable and he certainly is in a spot to explode in 2018.

Chandler has bulked up from around 190 to 201 pounds this offseason, prepping to handle plenty of touches this season. Jeremy Pruitt’s staff has been targeting taller, bulkier backs on the trail so far, so it’s no surprise to see them wanting to add weight to Chandler’s frame.

Don’t expect the Tennessee backfield to be all Chandler’s, however. Tim Jordan showed some ability and handled an equal workload during the spring game. Incoming grad-transfer Madre London is a little bit bigger than both and definitely didn’t come to Knoxville to sit on the sidelines.

It’s going to be interesting to watch and see how the rotation is managed, but Chandler should have the upper hand throughout the season.