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Jabari Small declares for 2024 NFL Draft

Small has made his decision.

Vanderbilt v Tennessee Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

Days after officially opting out of the Citrus Bowl, Tennessee running back Jabari Small has declared for the 2024 NFL Draft. Small will forgo his final (COVID) year of eligibility and begin his professional career.

Small joins fellow running back Jaylen Wright in declaring for the NFL Draft, leaving Tennessee with Dylan Sampson as the lead back on Monday against Iowa. True freshmen Cam Seldon and Khalifa Keith will also likely see plenty of action against the Hawkeyes.

Looking ahead to 2024, Tennessee will bring back Sampson, Seldon, Keith and DeSean Bishop. They’ll also add four-star Peyton Lewis from the class of 2024.

Small played four years for Tennessee, serving as the lead back for two of those seasons. He signed back in the class of 2020 with Jeremy Pruitt as a three-star prospect out of the Memphis area. He became Josh Heupel’s top option in 2021, rushing for 792 yards and nine touchdowns in his first full season as Tennessee’s top back.

Small’s role was split with Jaylen Wright from there, but Heupel and his staff still leaned heavily on him as a workhorse during the 2022 season. As the 2023 season went on, Small eventually lost carries to the more dynamic Sampson. With Sampson and Seldon coming back, it makes sense for Small to move on.

The 5-11, 213 pound back always has shown great balance and toughness, although he lacks the burst needed to be an elite prospect. We’ll see how the NFL views him in the coming months.