Hurd 'dominant' during scrimmage

InsideTennessee brings visitors the best Tennessee Vols coverage around. Scroll down to read about Jalen Hurd's impressive performance during the Vols' first scrimmage of spring.

As most of his peers entered the second semester of their senior year in high school, Jalen Hurd arrived in Knoxville already canonized as Tennessee's next big star.

Surely, Hurd's first year on campus will be analyzed, magnified and perhaps even scrutinized.

It's quite the burden. And it's not even fall yet.

But Friday afternoon, the former Beech (Tenn.) High School standout reminded those at Neyland Stadium why there's so much anticipation to begin with.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones said he was extremely pleased with Hurd's effort during the Vols' first live scrimmage of spring camp, saying the youngster turned in the most impressive performance of the day.

"I thought Jalen Hurd really started to run like we expect him to run," Jones said.

Hurd, a former Scout four-star, made the most of an opportunity.

Rising senior running back Marlin Lane did not participate in the scrimmage because of a wrist injury. Jones said Lane's return timetable is still unknown, but added he expects him participate again this spring.

In Lane's absence, Hurd received a heavier workload and turned it into two scores. Hurd plunged into the end zone twice in short yardage situations.

At 6-foot-3, 221 pounds, Hurd figures to provide a sturdy goal-line option for the Vols this fall. But he also picked up yardage in chunks using flashes of speed and agility.

By InsideTennessee's count, Hurd logged three rushes of more than 20 yards, drawing "oohs" and "ahhs" from his teammates as he evaded would-be defenders with a few flashy cuts along the way.

"I was really happy for Jalen today," Tennessee wideout Marquez North said. "He was real physical and he was dominant."

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While most considered Hurd's performance dominant, there's still room for improvement.

Jones said Hurd needs to improve on keeping his runs between the tackle and not bouncing outside.

"He still needs to learn how to get the ball north and south" Jones said.

Tennessee center Mack Crowder agrees.

"He did really good. I think he got spooked a few times today. He was hitting some holes," Crowder told IT. "I was proud of him. He's working very hard. I think, once again, he just needs to calm down and realize he has the ability to do."

Hurd tripped on his first carry of the scrimmage to lose yards, but gained confidence what seemed like each touch thereafter.

Jones said the mock game was indicative of Hurd's spring thus far, saying he makes strides each time the Vols practice.

"He goes out and gets better each day. I'm encouraged by what I see," Jones told IT. "I see the improvement coming. I see the confidence now."

Jones said he only expects Hurd to continue to make improvements as he continues to shake off the rust.

Friday was Hurd's first taste of "live" football since the first game of his senior season. During the game, Hurd suffered a season-ending shoulder injury which required surgery.

Jones said it's encouraging to see Hurd having so much success after being out of the swing of football for so long.

"He's working back into football shape. There's a difference. He hasn't played football in a year," Jones said. "… Each day of practice I see him getting better and better. Again, I see the improvement coming and also I see the confidence now."

Click on the image of Jalen Hurd to read more notes and news from the Vols' scrimmage.

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