Vol State's best on what Vols need

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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — The Mr. Football award, the state championship, the lengthy scholarship offer list and the rushing records. The résumé speaks for itself.

It's certain an arguable point, but a strong case can be made for Beech High's Jalen Hurd being the Volunteer State's top football player, regardless of class or position.

The junior just put a nice bow on an amazing week in which he broke the state rushing record for one season with 3,357 yards and led the Buccaneers to the TSSAA Class 5A state championship. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder showed up with a 15-0 season within reach by galloping for 394 yards and seven touchdowns on 34 attempts against Columbia on Friday night.

If the University of Tennessee wants to get back to the pinnacle of the Southeastern Conference and college football world, it must sign players like the Hendersonville, Tenn., native, who admittedly grew up rooting for the Big Orange.

Having said all that, his opinion on what the Volunteers need out of their next head football coach matters.

It will be up to Vol running backs coach Jay Graham in large part to get a signature from Hurd.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)
"They need leadership. They need stability," Hurd told InsideTennessee. "He needs to tell players that he's going to be there. Then, they need success. With the fans being upset with (Derek) Dooley, that's kind of what got him fired. They need success, they need stability and leadership."

Bringing in a head guy with a sparkling record and championship rings would go a long way toward winning the current roster and turning the head of top-flight recruits like Beech's best. Although it's extremely unlikely it'd happen now, Jon Gruden would do the trick.

"He's a great coach," Hurd said of the former Vol graduate assistant. "I did a little background checking on what he's done in the NFL. He's done the whole nine. He's a great football coach. Honestly, I hope they get him. Would that make a difference with Tennessee? A little bit. It matters how good they do, but no one is taken off the table right now."

In the meantime, the staff of assistant coaches are staying on the road recruiting. Running backs coach Jay Graham is spear-heading Hurd's recruitment to Knoxville. The pair started getting to know one another several months ago and Hurd has been on campus multiple times in the last 12 months.

"He's a great guy," Hurd said of Graham. "He's very personable. He's come to see me. I've talked to him on the phone multiple times, and that's my recruiter from Tennessee right now."

FOX Sports NEXT has only two runners — Leonard Fournette and Sony Michel — with five stars next to their name presently in the Class of 2014. Not far down at No. 7 is Hurd.

Hear more from the blue-chip target after the completion of his junior season in the video from InsideTennessee below:

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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