The Tennessee Vols have a pair of tailbacks in true freshman Eric Gray and junior Ty Chandler that have the potential to be one of the best running back duos in the SEC.
Gray has been described by UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt as a mature player that “jumps out”.
And Chandler’s explosiveness is well documented.
Ty Chandler goes the distance and we have a ball game! pic.twitter.com/7aF5CDHDsW
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) November 24, 2018
While Chandler and Gray will likely be a big part of Tennessee’s offense in 2019, they aren’t the only Vol running backs that will make an impact.
Junior Tim Jordan, who was second on the team in rushing yards last season, will return in 2019 and should also be a factor in the running game.
But there’s another player that seems to be an afterthought this fall that I think could make a MAJOR impact this season.
Sophomore running back Jeremy Banks.
The Tennessee native, who briefly moved to linebacker last season, is one of the most physical players on the team. His hard nosed running style is tailor made for SEC play.
Jeremy Banks hits the hole so fast. pic.twitter.com/S2yWB84Q7N
— CHANNEL TN (@CHANNEL_TN_) July 27, 2019
The biggest problem for Banks is ball control issues. Banks had three fumbles on only 52 rushing attempts last season.
It doesn’t matter how good of a runner a Banks is — he won’t play if he fumbles once every 15-20 carries.
Fortunately for Banks, he’s gained the confidence of Pruitt during spring and fall practices. Pruitt praised Banks’ toughness earlier this month and said he’s seen “lots of improvements” from him. Tennessee’s head coach also mentioned that Banks still needs to continue working on ball security and pass protection.
Having three running backs with three different skillsets (I think Banks will pass Jordan on the depth chart, due to Jordan’s below average field vision), will be a major asset for Tennessee.
Chandler is a home run threat. Gray is dangerous in space. And Banks could be a go-to guy in short yardage and goal line situations.
If Banks can get his ball security issues in check, he could be a significant part of Tennessee’s offense in 2019.
I’d say Banks, who has been described by Pruitt as extremely competitive, has the right mindset to make the necessary changes to become a better football player in 2019.
And that’s certainly great news for Tennessee.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports