KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee freshman tailback Ty Chandler is hitting his stride after arriving on campus two months ago with a pulled hamstring.
Coach Butch Jones says he has been impressed with Chandler, who has added 10 pounds and grown an inch since signing day, now 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds.
“He’s getting better and better,” Jones said of the Montgomery Bell Academy standout. “He’s picking it up. He’s been able to handle the workload in terms of the playbook, the installation, he has great retention.”
Vols junior John Kelly is without a doubt the centerpiece of the skill position players, capable of 30 touches in a game with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well as run.
Most every team plays at least three tailbacks in games, however, and Tennessee doesn’t have any proven depth behind Kelly.
Sophomore Carlin Fils-aime was often injured as a true freshman, and his 5-11, 183-pound frame appears better suited for runs outside the tackle and catches out of the backfield.
Chandler, along with incoming tailbacks Trey Coleman (5-11, 214) and Timmy Jordan (5-11, 196) are pushing for the No. 2 spot behind Kelly.
Chandler is the favorite in the bunch.
“He has the ability to make you miss,” Jones said. “Has great burst and explosion, center of gravity. Did a great job today in blitz pickup, so we’re really excited.
“All three of the freshmen running backs, I’ve been really pleased to see them come out here and play. We’re going to need all three of them.”