all VOL, y'all.

10 greatest things about landing Jalen Hurd

Jalen Hurd and Todd Kelly Jr

Jalen Hurd and Todd Kelly Jr. are the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects in the state of Tennessee and two huge early commits for Butch Jones and company.

So, wow. There I was minding my business this morning, when suddenly, a tweet sent out from Hendersonville broke the damn Internet.

And Vol fans everywhere rejoiced. With good reason. Here are ten that come to mind.

10 greatest things about landing Jalen Hurd

1. He’s a running back: 
Which, obviously, is a position of huge need. Yes. The Vols got Jabo Lee this past class. But Lee hurt his knee the first game of his senior year, so he’s a bit of a wildcard. Plus, most believe that while Lee could well become a very nice player, he’s probably not going to be an every-down back in the Southeastern Conference. So to say that running back is a position of need is putting it mildly. And UT got themselves a running back.

But Hurd is no ordinary running back — he’s also the state’s top prospect. A guy who had a legendary performance on the state’s biggest stage, rushing for nearly 400 yards and SEVEN touchdowns in the 5A state championship game. Think about that for a second. The 5A state championship game and the guy goes all video-game nutty?

That’s huge.

I thought Jimmy Hyams lent an interesting perspective with regard to just how big of an in-state land Hurd is with this tweet:

2. Talk to me, TK: 
Todd Kelly Sr. is one of my all-time favorite Vols. Exactly why I’ve been so high on his son for quite some time now. Well, that, and the fact that Todd Kelly Jr. a total beast — the state’s No. 2 recruit and the nation’s No. 7 safety according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings

So when he committed to UT, Vol Nation had great reason to be stoked. Because not only was the “legacy” class of 2014 already beginning to take shape (what with Kelly, Vic Warton and Neiko Creamer), but also because TK Jr. seemed ready, willing and able to become the rush chairmen responsible for helping to fill out the rest of the 2014 roster.

At least that’s what I took from this:

And that’s exactly what he’s done. Gone on the hunt to get those players. Dave Hooker went on the Erik Ainge show earlier today and spoke about what a special kid Todd Kelly Jr. is. In fact, Hooker believes that TK Jr. was the straw that broke the camel’s back with regard to Hurd’s commitment. And Hooker’s not the only one giving TK Jr. props. The Twitterverse is doing the same thing. Or so I gathered from this tweet:

So, yeah, one of the very best things about Hurd committing is that it’s proof Todd Kelly Jr.’s gonna the kind of ambassador who’s gonna be able to help land even more great players in the 2014 class.

3. NO MORE POPE JOKES: Yesterday afternoon, my Twitter stream was hijacked by a bunch of self-fancied comedians making any number of Pope jokes. Now everyone’s moved on to Jalen Hurd and not a moment too soon.

Because, I gotta tell you, nothing like a new Pope to remind you that very few people are anywhere near as funny as they think.

4. Jay Who? What was it, two weeks ago when London Bridge was falling down thanks to the Jay Graham debacle? Please, y’all. I said it once, and I’ll say it again: At the end of the day, (in Graham) all the Vols really lost was a position coach who makes about as much as a super-aggressive insurance salesman.

Please don’t take that to mean I wasn’t upset at the news. Because I was. I just wasn’t despondent. But many, it seemed, were.

So to everyone who thought Graham’s departure was gonna cripple recruiting? C’mon, y’all. That’s flat-out manic.

Get AVV posts delivered to you by email

5. Butch Jones and SEC recruiting: One of the big question marks about this coach and his staff was whether or not they had what it took to recruit in the SEC. Put simply — could they land big-ass, program-changing recruits?

You get early commits from the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects in your state barely 3 months into your tenure despite the previous coaching staff’s proclivity for pissing off any and all top-name recruits, and I’m gonna go ahead and check “affirmative” on that one.

Especially when you consider this: Hurd told the Chattanooga Times Free Press in November that he didn’t have much of a relationship with UT or Dooley. That’s almost an impossible amount of ground to make up in such short order — from not even having a relationship to landing a commit.

Kudos to Coach Butch Jones and crew with a special shout out to Coach Mark Elder, who I understand has been the lead with Jalen.

6. The teams that UT’s beating out for these guys: So, yeah, the Vols are obviously landing top recruits as evidenced by this SICK-O factoid:

But the other side to that coin is just as important because it’s not just that UT is landing commits from top recruits. It’s also who they’re beating for these kids — teams like Ohio State and Alabama in the case of Hurd and Kelly. All of which bodes very well for the state of UT Football.

7. It’s still EARLY: Of course, that knife cuts both ways. Everyone knows that commits can de-commit. But with so many key commits so early, and with one of them being a vocal-ambassador / leader type like TK Jr., one gets the sense that this momentum that UT currently has will only grow.

Which means that Tennessee just might find itself in a position of being able to put the finishing touches on this class in the late summer / early fall as opposed to waiting for the mad scramble to the National Signing Day finish line that the Vol Nation has experienced the past few years.

And wouldn’t it be nice to not have to sweat it out to the very end for a change?

8. Clay Travis a Vol fan again? Confession time (as Clay, himself, might say): I really like Clay Travis — I think he does great work. In fact, I get the sense that I like him a lot more than most Vol fans. And I’m guessing it’s because he’s gone from openly positioning himself as a “lifelong Vol fan” to someone who’s not afraid to throw a few diesel-soaked rags onto the fire of UT’s recent misery. (Though, to be fair, his man crush on James Franklin probably plays a role, too.)

But did anyone see Clay’s post about the Vols landing Jalen Hurd today? He was positively glowing, both about the commit and the job that Butch Jones is doing. And while it’s not really that big of a deal, I did think it was of note.

Especially given the tone that normally accompanies a piece on the Vols penned by Travis. The one that was notably absent in this one.

like AVY on Facebook

9. Hashtags: Let’s get this out of the way, because this is important. One of the 10 greatest things about landing Jalen Hurd is all the hashtags / plays on Jalen’s name that I’ve seen. I got into the act early:

And while I was, and remain, reasonably pleased with that one, it doesn’t hold a candle to the #HurdOn tweets that have been making the rounds.

So to all you clever boner enthusiasts out there — well played! Well played, indeed.

10. Vol Nation believes again: Vol Nation sings it — It’s great. To be. A Tennessee Vol. — but if they’re being honest, it really hasn’t been all high-fives and butt slaps for quite some time now. In fact, it’s been downright brutal.

But it feels like all of that is changing. Naturally, only time will tell if it really is or not, but even the most pessimistic of Vol fans would have to admit that Butch Jones is off to a fantastic start.

Remember when Jones called UT his dream job? I’m not so sure I bought it at the time. It sounded to me more like something someone would say to “win the press conference.” Not that I blamed him. I mean, you gotta win the press conference, even if you fudge here and there to do so.

But, now? I actually do believe that comment. That this really was his dream job. Because I think that Jones realized just how great of a football program UT has. And just how neglected this program was. Just how much it had suffered. Just how far it had fallen and was continuing to fall.

And I also think he believed that all it would take to turn this thing around would be for the right man to come in and proceed to do a million tiny things the right way. And I think he believed he was the right man to do just that.

And to this point, it sure is hard to find fault with that logic.

I leave you with Jalen Hurd’s highlight reel. Simply put, it’s preposterous.

facebook comments:

  • muskrat

    I got excited about a guy from Hendersonville at first…until I saw he went to Beech. Glad to see UT building itself back up just the same.