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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
2014 RB Jalen Hurd talks latest visit

By Dave Hooker

Jalen Hurd felt like a valued guest on his latest visit. That wasn't always the feeling he had when it came to the University of Tennessee.

While visiting UT, the ESPN Watch List tailback was doted on by first-year head coach Butch Jones. It was a much different experience than he had with former UT coach Derek Dooley. The relationship between Hurd and the Vols has changed dramatically since Tennessee's coaching change following the 2012 season.

"It's a 100 times better than it was," the 6-foot-3, 195-pound tailback from Hendersonville (Tenn.) Beech said. "The previous staff, I didn't really have much of a relationship with. This staff has shown me a lot of love. I really appreciate that."

In desperate need of a power tailback, Jones and his staff gave Hurd the treatment he warranted. Jones had Hurd sit next to him during the Tennessee-Kentucky basketball game last Saturday. Hurd was impressed by the attention.

"I thought it was great," Hurd said. "I got to meet with Coach Jones and the whole coaching staff. I really enjoyed it."

With plenty of schools in pursuit, he's planning several visits this spring and summer. Ohio State and Florida are on the list. He said he'll visit Knoxville again to watch a spring practice.

Hurd said he would like to see the Volunteers improve this fall. After three straight losing seasons, he's not so worried about wins and losses, just improvement.

"It's very important," Hurd said. "I think Coach Jones will do a great job. In previous years they've dropped off a little bit. They probably need to do better. I just need to see improvement."

Hurd admits he grew up a Tennessee fan. He remembers cheering for former Tennessee tailback Montario Hardesty, who now plays for the Cleveland Browns.

If Hurd selects Tennessee, he would like to follow in Hardesty's footsteps. Some have questioned whether Hurd will play tailback in college. Apparently, Tennessee has not.

"Tennessee wants to keep me at tailback," Hurd said. "They like the way I run the ball. They said they have no reason why I can't play tailback."

Handling a potential position switch will be key for any school recruiting Hurd. He's intent on playing tailback in college.

"It's very important," he said. "I grew up playing tailback all of my life. It feels like home to me and I really don't want to switch positions."