Tennessee has a stable of returning running backs. They actually did not lose any players to this group. Obviously, it will be led by junior, Ty Chandler. The Nashville native ran for 560 yards on 115 carries and led the team with 4 rushing touchdowns. Along with that he caught 3 receiving touchdowns last season. I really look for Chaney to get him involved in new and explosive ways, because he’s probably the most dynamic player on this team. He entered the program with high expectations, 247Sports ranked him as the no.5 running back in the 2016 class. I look for him to have a lot of success with a better O-line and more experienced offensive coordinator.
Behind Chandler is junior, Tim Jordan. Last season he ran for over 520 yards on 132 carries and rushed for 3 touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 116 yards. In my opinion, Jordan is the best back Tennessee has for getting yards in the trenches, while Chandler is better at getting explosive breakout runs. The Florida native came to the program with somewhat low expectations, with only receiving offers from schools like Illinois, North Carolina, and Purdue.
After those two there’s sophomore, Jeremy Banks and senior, Carlin Fils-Aime. Banks is the biggest back on this team that will see significant actions. Last season he was used more than some would have thought, rushing for 185 yards on 52 carries. He had his breakout game in the home opener vs ETSU with 62 yards rushing. He’s a Tennessee native that came in as a 4-star and a top 10 player in the state of Tennessee. Last season,he was even used some at linebacker and even made 3 tackles on special teams, but it is believed that he will only be used on offense this season.
Carlin Fils-Aime came into Tennessee as a highly rated 4-star prospect from Florida and looked as if he would fit in perfectly into Butch Jones’ offense back in 2015. Obviously, things did not work out as he would have liked it to. However, entering his senior year he’s been used somewhat throughout his career, with only 309 rushing yards on 52 carries. Last season was his most insignificant with only 36 rushing yards on 7 carries. Although things have not worked out perfectly, he can still have a nice senior season.
The rest of the running back group consists of sophomore, Princeton Fant and freshman, Eric Gray. I can’t say for certain how much action either will see this season, but Fant came into the program with aspirations of playing wide receiver and received offers from LSU, Ole Miss, and Kentucky. But once here he was put at running back. He only has 7 career rushing yards and was used some at linebacker but appears to be staying at running back this fall. Eric Gray is someone this program has high expectations for in the future. He was the no.2 prospect in the state of Tennessee and was the 2017 and 2018 Tennessee Gatorade player of the year. I’m not sure if he plans on red shirting because of the depth at this position but I look to see more from him in the years to come.