No Jabari Small, no Jaylen Wright. A fairly limited Dylan Sampson. One objective of the Orange and White Game was clear — Tennessee wanted to work their young running backs. It makes sense, right? Why take a risk of injury right now? Furthermore, it gives you a chance to get these young guys up to speed, with no live practices scheduled now until August.
Enter four-star athlete Cam Seldon, who has landed in the Tennessee backfield to start his career. This is a guy who has entered with plenty of hype, a huge get for the Volunteers on the recruiting trail. His dominant high school tape was exciting on both sides of the ball, even at receiver.
In our first live look at Seldon, we saw a little bit of everything, leaving some to draw comparisons to former Vol Cordarrelle Patterson.
“Really unique player just with his skillset and the background that he has from playing running back to playing in the slot, to playing outside to playing on the defensive side of the football,” Josh Heupel said of Seldon after the scrimmage. “He’s played a lot of positions. He’s never really had a true home. We felt like it was important to give him a home here early and grow and expand from that.”
Receiver seemed to be his future home when he committed to Tennessee, but a depth issue made things obvious of where he needed to start. His 6-1, 225 pound frame furthered that thinking. Despite that frame, Seldon’s burst and explosiveness are still there. And as we saw on Saturday, the staff clearly has plans to move him around the offense.
“He’s been really good from what he’s done inside the running back room,” Heupel said. “He cares, he competes really hard. For a guy that has a high-end top gear, electric speed, he’s willing to stick his foot in the ground, get vertical, get behind his pads and find a way to get plus-two. He’s going to continue to grow.”
We got our first taste of that on this 24 yard touchdown run in the Orange and White Game.
Seldon finished the day with ten carries for 45 yards and a rushing touchdown. He added three receptions for 43 yards. He lined up a running back, in the slot and out wide — and he looked natural doing it all.
“Who he is today, man, I expect him to be dramatically better when we get to kickoff next September,” Heupel finished. “And I just say that because he’s going to continue to grow with the way that he works. He’s got a really high ceiling. His ability to be a pass-catcher out of the backfield, really unique and obviously a skillset we want here.”
Does Seldon have some sort of role this fall? I’d be surprised if that happened early on, but Tennessee has a really exciting piece waiting if the injuries start to pile up. Looking ahead, Seldon certainly has the ability to be the focal point of this offense. Considering the creativity of Josh Heupel and his staff, that’s a really exciting though going forward.