Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — With 5-stars Cam Akers and D’Andre Swift also representing Team East for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Tennessee tailback commit Ty Chandler has been overshadowed a bit out in San Antonio.
Not a problem.
The humble halfback from Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.) doesn’t mind existing in the shadows, as Chandler has still acquitted himself as one of the best prospects in the nation this week. The 4-star recruit has flashed his speed, vision and hands during drills and 11-on-11’s during East practices, and Chandler said he’s excited to get to Tennessee this summer to showcase his talents and learn from rising-junior running back John Kelly.
“I’m looking to go in and compete right off the bat,” he told SEC Country.
“I know John Kelly. He’s a great guy. I’m going to look forward learning some things from him and all the other guys. I’m just looking to go in and compete. I love to compete. Love it. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”
Chandler, who wanted to enroll early but wasn’t allowed due to rules at MBA, is eager to carve out a role in 2017. He rushed for more than 2,200 yards as a senior this season, scoring a whopping 39 touchdowns. He’s started at MBA since he was a freshman, and now, he’s ready to study under Kelly and ultimately form a nice 1-2 punch in the backfield for the Vols.
“There’s a great opportunity to come in and play right away as a freshman,” he said.
“I’m excited to go in and compete.”
Kelly rushed for 630 yards and 5 touchdowns as a sophomore, taking on a greater role after Jalen Hurd abruptly quit the team in October.
Next season, he’s expected to be the Vols bellcow ‘back and mentor Chandler, Carlin Fils-Aime and others. Kelly already began to assume a larger leadership role late in the season, as teammates lauded his endless enthusiasm and Energizer Bunny attitude. Chandler recognizes those same traits.
“He’s a good guy,” Chandler said.
“I always enjoy staying with him every time I’m up there. I’m ready to learn some things from JK. Just get the ball rolling up at Tennessee and (eventually) rush for 1,000 or 2,000 yards (in a season).”
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton