The Tennessee Vols haven’t had a player rush for 1,000 yards since 2015 when Jalen Hurd totaled 1,285 yards on the ground.
Sophomore running back Eric Gray is looking to change that in 2020.
Gray told reporters on Thursday that even though Tennessee (and the rest of the SEC) is only playing 10 games in 2020 that he still hopes to surpass 1,000 rushing yards this season.
“It’s gonna be a great thing to do, if you can go out there and do it, ten straight SEC games, and you can go out there and put 1,000 yards up…If you can go out there and prove that you’re that back, playing 10 SEC games, no one has ever done that. You would be the first to do it. That would be something special.”
That’s a lofty goal for Gray, but it’s not something he’s just randomly throwing out there. He’s serious about rushing for 1,000 yards. And he’s putting in the work to make it happen — mentally and physically.
“My focal point for my game is to just really take it to the next level. My freshman year was a pretty good year, but I really want to take it to another level for my sophomore year,” said Gray.
“In meeting rooms, if you saw my notebook in meeting rooms, you’d see I write, ‘Be perfect today,” added Gray. “You’ve got to take each day by day and work as hard as you possibly can, and when you start to bond those days together, that’s where you get consistency.”
I don’t know if Gray will be able to reach 1,000 yards or not — that’s a tough milestone to reach in the SEC even during a regular season with a couple of cupcakes on the schedule. But there’s no doubt he has the talent to possibly make it happen.
Gray showed his game-breaking ability in the Vols’ regular-season finale against Vanderbilt last season, rushing for 246 yards on 25 carries (including a 56-yard touchdown and a 94-yard touchdown). If the Memphis native is able to do that a few times in 2020, then 1,000 yards could be within reach.
While we don’t know what Gray’s final stat line will look like this season, one thing is certain — he’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.
Featured image via Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports