- Dave Hooker, Reporter, RecruitingNation
It's not quite time to name finalists. However, junior running back Jalen Hurd has some strong leaders.
The ESPN Watch List prospect from Hendersonville (Tenn.) Gallatin said Ohio State, Georgia and Florida lead the other schools vying for his services. Hurd recently took a visit to Florida.
"Florida is great," Hurd said. "I love the atmosphere and I love the weather. The coaches are also great. They're very successful right now. Coach [Will] Muschamp is doing a great job with the program and I think they'll be successful."
When asked about his recent visit to Gainesville, Hurd said, "Florida went really well. That trip was amazing. [Tennessee] is probably the next environment like that, but Florida is great. I got to meet the coaching staff, coach [Brent] Pease and coach [Will] Muschamp. It was a great time."
Considering his thoughts on Tennessee's game day atmosphere and the fact that he's an in-state prospect, one might think Hurd is strongly considering the Volunteers. Not so, as of now.
"I think highly of them," the 6-foot-3, 195-pound prospect said. "They're not having the best season they want to right now. They're still a great school and a great program.
Tennessee's standing with Hurd depends largely on the future of the program. That could include a potential coaching chance.
"It depends on what coach comes in and how well they do," Hurd said when asked how strongly he'll consider the Vols. "As an athlete, you want a program that's successful and has it all together. UT isn't doing as well as they want to right now. If they start to do well, then they might be more with me but right now, UT is not the highest on my list."
Hurd's next visit is scheduled for Nov. 24 when Ohio State hosts Michigan. Since it looks as if Hurd will grow into a power back, the Big Ten could be a good fit.
"I have a great relationship with all the coaching staff," Hurd said of the Buckeyes. "I've talked to coach [Urban] Meyer numerous times. I talked t the running back coach [Stan Drayton] numerous times. I'm going to take a visit up there. Hopefully that will go well."
Hurd said he's also planning a fall visit to see the Bulldogs up close in Athens, Ga.
"Georgia is great," Hurd said. "I know they have a history of great running backs"
Aside from recruiting, Hurd is focused on his junior season. With just over 2,000 yards, he has a goal to break Tennessee's all-time rushing record, which is 3,068 yards.
"It would mean everything, just to be all-time rushing in the state," Hurd said. "It would mean a lot. It's something I'm striving for."
Hurd said all he has to do is average over 200 yards rushing the in playoffs and he can achieve his goal. No doubt recruiters will be watching.
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