Neal separating himself

Sign up or sign in to read this Tennessee football update from Be sure to come to IT for all the latest in Volunteer athletics.

Derek Dooley is playing his cards close to the vest when it comes to revealing his starting lineup for Tennessee's season opener with the North Carolina State, but tailback Rajion Neal looks to be the front runner at his position.

Neal, a junior from Fayetteville, Ga., has done everything he could do to ensure he was ready for the 2012 season, including working with life-long trainer John Lewis this offseason.

Recently, a couple of YouTube videos of Neal surfaced showing his off-season workout regiment, which can be seen HERE.

"That was just some offseason training," Neal told InsideTennessee. "I have probably been doing that since I was in middle school. That is John Lewis, I have been with him since I was eight or nine years old. He is just a guy that keeps me prepared for when I have to come back. He just keeps me touched up during the summer."

Neal, who ran for 134 yards and brought in 269 yards receiving as a sophomore, spent most of his second year for the Orange & White at wide receiver. However, back at the tailback position, he is trying to separate himself from the competition.

"I feel that at this point in time when you are here everyone is good," Neal said. "The question is — what makes you different?"

Whether Neal's offseason training should be credited or not, he has bulked up to 211 pounds and looks to be poised to tote the rock for the Vols in the No. 1 tailback position to open the season, but the competition is stiff in the Vol backfield.

"The offense is moving good," Neal said. "The competition between the backs is real competitive. Still friendly, but we are really competing to get out there."

Watch as Neal addressed the media Monday following practice at Haslam Field:

Be sure to come to for all the latest in Tennessee Volunteers athletics.

Chris Price is a staff writer for He was previously an intern for the site for two years before graduating from the University of Tennessee. He joined the InsideTennessee team in 2009.

Twitter | Facebook | E-Mail

Inside Tennessee Top Stories