Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has confirmed that running back Jalen Hurd will transfer from the Volunteers program.
Jalen Hurd has decided to transfer from Tennessee, head coach Butch Jones confirmed on Monday during his weekly press conference.
“I met with Jalen Hurd this morning. We had a conversation, and we have a great relationship. Jalen has informed me that he intends to transfer. I support him on that. And I’m very, very thankful for everything he’s done for our football program. But it’s all about our football program and football team moving forward.”
After a sophomore season in 2015 in which Hurd rushed for 1,288 yards and 12 touchdowns, he was expected to be a major part of an explosive Tennessee backfield that also included quarterback Joshua Dobbs and backup running back Alvin Kamara.
A nagging injury and an offensive line that regularly was overmatched by opposing defenses kept Hurd from breaking out. Normally a workhorse, the junior had only three games so far this season in which he carried the ball more than 20 times, with those being in three of the first four games. He broke the century mark in rushing yards only once, the opener against Appalachian State, and had been limited to 21 carries and 44 yards in the past two games, both losses to Alabama and South Carolina.
A number of things led to Hurd’s decision to leave the Volunteers program, Jones said.
“It’s a combination of a long football season. I don’t want to speak for Jalen. There are a lot of things that go into that decision. I value our relationship, and have a lot of respect for that young man. And I wish him nothing but the best.”
A poster on the message board VolNation.com believed to be Hurd’s uncle said that promises were made to Hurd that were not kept by Jones or the coaching staff. Jones made it clear that that was not the case.
“No,” Jones said emphatically when asked if that was true.
With Hurd now gone and Kamara out with an injury, the running back spot is open for John Kelly, who rushed for a career-high 94 yards in the loss to the Gamecocks this past Saturday.
“He’ll gain a greater role in our offense. You talk about dynamics and leadership, he’s one of the leaders on this football team with his energy and passion. He was one of the most vocal players in Sunday’s meeting. You talk about asserting your will on a football team, he’s very passionate. Every Friday night we present the keys to winning, and when I called his name the whole team went crazy. Leadership is influence, and he has the influence.”
As for Kamara, Jones is confident that he will be healthy and able to play again soon.
“We’re also very excited about the progression of Alvin. He won’t be ready this week, but he should be questionable by the Kentucky game.”