Vols' Jalen Hurd for Heisman? Butch Jones thinks so - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Vols' Jalen Hurd for Heisman? Butch Jones thinks so

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Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd (1) runs for his second touchdown during the first half against Iowa in the Taxslayer Bowl at EverBank Field on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015 in Jacksonville, FL. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL) Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd (1) runs for his second touchdown during the first half against Iowa in the Taxslayer Bowl at EverBank Field on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015 in Jacksonville, FL. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Hurd for the Heisman.

It has a nice ring to it if you're Butch Jones.

Jones, in Franklin this past week with the Big Orange Caravan, pumped up former Beech running back Jalen Hurd in what sounded a lot like the early stages of a Heisman Trophy campaign.

After calling Hurd the nation's best running back, Jones was happy to elaborate about what he likes best about the rising junior, who led the Vols with 1,288 rushing yards on 277 carries and scored 12 touchdowns in 2015.

"Jalen Hurd is a three-down running back; he can get the tough yards, he can be elusive, he can pass protect, he can catch the football out of the backfield," Jones said. "He's a weapon. He's very determined. And then you throw in his size (6-foot-4, 240 pounds)."

When asked whether he was prepared to tout Hurd for the Heisman, an award no Tennessee player ever has won, Jones said: "I know he's very determined. He's working very hard, and our players rally around him."

Jones brought up the grueling two-a-day physical workouts Hurd is putting himself through in the off-season as another one of the qualities he admires.

Hurd recently posted a video of himself running almost 24 mph on the treadmill and another of him doing several different exercises on the pull-up bar.

"I just got nervous when I saw him jump off the treadmill," Jones said. "That was impressive in and of itself."

Jones said Hurd's greatest strengths also will make him a top pick in the NFL draft.

"You look at the first back (Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State) chosen in the (2016) draft; he was chosen because NFL scouts thought he was a three-down running back," Jones said. "He could play all three downs just like Jalen Hurd can do."

Hurd is the only player in UT history to rush for 100 yards in two bowls games (122 in the TaxSlayer, 130 in the Outback).

He is the second-leading returning rusher in the SEC behind LSU's Leonard Fournette (1,953 yards).

Hurd talked recently with ESPN.com about his chances for winning the Heisman, saying he would have to start promoting himself more in order to have a real shot.

“The media’s the one that really talks about the Heisman,” Hurd said. “I’m not a huge media guy, don’t talk to the media that much. I’m not saying I should be in the talk, but a lot of it has to do with talking to the media. Also, I need to put up better numbers. The guys who are in the Heisman talk, their numbers are ridiculous.”

WBIR contributed to this story. 

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