WATCH: Former Tennessee football star Jalen Hurd reveals reasons for moves – SECcountry.com


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Former Tennessee star running back Jalen Hurd disclosed that he suffered through “a lot of injuries” while with the Vols, prompting his move to receiver at Baylor.

“My body was not feeling that well at running back,” said Hurd, listed at 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds — 11 pounds lighter than his playing weight with the Vols.

“I had a lot of injuries at Tennessee, and the switch has been great for me to rest my body. I’ll be able to play a lot longer at this position.”

Hurd played for Tennessee from 2014 through the eighth game of the 2016 season, just 440 yards shy of tying the Vols’ all-time rushing mark held by Travis Henry (3,078).

Tennessee’s former home-state hero, from Beech High School in Hendersonville, left the Vols amid controversy in the wake of a 24-21 loss at South Carolina after refusing to re-enter that game.

It was a disappointing end after Hurd opened the season playing inspired football, contributing heavily in marquee wins over Virginia Tech (45-24) and Florida (38-28) as the Vols opened the campaign 5-0 and ranked in the top 10 for the first time in 10 seasons.

Hurd appeared clear-minded and focused in the Baylor football video released Friday, discussing how difficult it was to sit out last season per NCAA transfer rules.

“Man, it was humbling. I sat there and I came on the scout team every single day, and I worked with the first-team defense, was a scout wide receiver, did a lot of stuff,” Hurd said. “It was humbling, but I was learning the game, I was learning how to move in and out of my cuts and working on my hands during the transitional role.”

Hurd said he chose Baylor because he likes coach Matt Rhule, though the Bears went just 1-11 in Rhule’s first campaign last season.

“I saw a great opportunity, I liked what Rhule is doing here, and I saw where I could do really well here, and I think it was a great decision so far,” Hurd said. “They run a strict ship here, which I respect that. Practices are, I’d say just the same or harder, I’ve enjoyed it so far, so I’m looking forward to keep going and getting on the field.”

Hurd said the Baylor staff has been direct with him, something he said he valued when asked how the coaching has been different with the Bears.

“They are straight up, so I respect that 100 percent, they’ve been straight up with me since the day I stepped on this campus,” Hurd said. “That’s what you want as a player, for someone to be straight up with you.”

Hurd’s parents have said he was under the impression he would get more carries out of the I-formation in 2016, an offensive attack that would have enabled him to get his then-240-pound frame closer to top speed before hitting the line.

Instead, former coach Butch Jones stuck with his uptempo shotgun spread during the first half of the season, playing from 10 points down or more in six of the first seven games.

Things appeared to reach a boiling point after Hurd suffered a concussion in a 34-31 win at Georgia and missed the next game, unable to travel on the airplane because of the head injury.

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Alvin Kamara started when Hurd didn’t make the trip to Texas A&M, overcoming 2 fumbles to set a single-game record with 312 total yards on 30 touches in an overtime loss to the Aggies.

Kamara, however, was unable to stay healthy with the heavier workload, getting injured the next week against Alabama and missing the next two games with a knee injury that did not require surgery.

Hurd struggled against South Carolina the week after the loss to the Tide and was pulled in favor of John Kelly, later declining to go back into the game after Kelly ripped off a long run.

The Vols were forced to insert then-true freshman Carlin Fils-aime, and the young back blew an assignment and ran into quarterback Josh Dobbs, forcing a fumble.

Two plays later, South Carolina scored what proved to be the winning touchdown.

A heated team meeting ensued, and Hurd’s decision not to re-enter the game was called into question by teammates, leading to him leaving the team.

Hurd finished his final season with the Vols with 122 carries for 451 yards and 3 touchdowns against the teeth of one of the most challenging schedules in school history. Tennessee played five FBS divisional champions along with road games at Georgia, Texas A&M and South Carolina before Hurd left.

It was a frustrating situation for Hurd, who was dealing with sky-high expectations while playing injured behind a makeshift line that had just one starter stay healthy enough to finish the Alabama game.

Tennessee finished 9-4 with a third straight bowl win and back-to-back top 25 seasons, setting school single-season marks for touchdowns and points in a season.

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The Vols lost their final regular-season game to Vanderbilt, however, costing the program a trip to the Sugar Bowl and leaving fans discontent.

Hurd helped Tennessee win many games before he parted of ways with the team, and many fans still refer to him as a “Vol For Life” even after the move to Baylor.

 

 



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