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Jaylen Wright declares for 2024 NFL Draft

An expected move.

Vanderbilt v Tennessee Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

As expected, Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright officially declared for the NFL Draft on Friday. The junior running back ran for over 2,200 yards during his Tennessee career, including a 1,000 yard season during the 2023 campaign.

Wright announced his decision on his X account on Friday afternoon.

I am grateful for the extraordinary talents and gifts bestowed upon me by God. With His guidance, I believe that all thing are possible, and I express my gratitude for the opportunities provided in every facet of my life.

Under the leadership of Coach Heupel and the Tennessee coaching staff, I have experienced exponential growth both on and off the field. I am appreciative of the trust placed in me to carry forward the vision and for the invaluable knowledge imparted, applicable not only in the game but also in life.

To my teammates, you are the backbone of this remarkable journey. The BROTHERHOOD and family-oriented system within our team have been the driving force behind our shared successes. The bonds formed on and off the field are everlasting.

VOL NATION, your passion, loyalty, and support have fueled our determination. You are the heartbeat of our team, and I am thankful for the backing you’ve provided. VOLS FOR LIFE!

My gratitude extends to my family and friends who have impacted my life, paying a pivotal role in shaping my future as the athlete I am today and aspire to become.

A special acknowledgement to Jay Graham for recruiting me. Your belief in my potential has been a catalyst for my success.

I express my deepest gratitude to my parents for being the unwavering support and love that have formed the bedrock of my journey. Their sacrifices and encouragement have significantly contributed to molding the person I am today. I feel incredibly fortunate to have a family actively involved in supporting my dreams and ambitions.

Carrying the VOLS spirit with me, I am pleased to inform you that my family and I have decided that the next phase of my football career will be to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Wright will not play in the Citrus Bowl against Iowa. He became the 19th running back in Tennessee history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season, averaging 7.4 yards per carry during his junior season. The North Carolina native checks in at 5-11, 210 pounds.

His development over the last three years in Knoxville has been dramatic, adding weight to his frame to pair with legitimate burst and top end speed. Fumbling issues were apparent during his first two seasons with the Volunteers, but that was cleaned up midway through the 2022 season.

Wright has been projected to go in the fifth round, though it’s difficult to nail down potential day three picks. He’ll have a chance to rise at the NFL Combine, where his speed, burst and athleticism should be on full display.

For Tennessee, they’ll be left with Dylan Sampson for the bowl game. Jabari Small obviously could still play, but there have been plenty of rumors suggesting that Small could have played his final down for the Volunteers too. That could shoot true freshman Cam Seldon up the depth chart to end the season.

Looking ahead to 2024, Sampson and Seldon appear to be ready to lead the Tennessee backfield. Khalifa Keith and Desean Bishop will also be there, along with incoming four-star freshman Peyton Lewis.