Tennessee’s likely lead back for the 2021 season has landed on a prominent watch list ahead of the season. Jabari Small, who finds himself suddenly in a big spot in the offense, was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list earlier this week.
The award is handed out annually to the nation’s top running back. Small was one of 13 players from the SEC to appear on the list.
After handling just 26 carries as a true freshman in 2020, Small is set to become the starter following the departures of Eric Gray (Oklahoma) and Ty Chandler (North Carolina). He totalled 117 yards on those carries, flashing against Arkansas and Vanderbilt.
Small signed with Tennessee coming out of Memphis, ranked as a three-star prospect.
He will be joined in the backfield by Tiyon Evans, who comes in from the JUCO ranks. Freshman Jaylen Wright will likely see some action, along with Dee Beckwith. Len’Neth Whitehead and Tee Hodge could also factor into the equation.
Ten semifinalists for the award will be named in November, and the race will be narrowed to three after that. The award will be presented at The Home Depot College Football Awards in December.