Jalen Hurd had a number of reasons to take it easy after Beech won the Class AAA state championship November 30. The 6-foot-3, 232-pounder not only carried the ball 317 times in 14 games to the tune of 3,357 yards and 43 touchdowns, but also played through a shoulder injury that required minor surgery and ongoing rehab.
Hurd works out four days a week with his personal trainer Skip Wade.
Instead of reading the press clippings, taking time to rest and recharge the body and focus entirely on recruiting, the Tennessee commit took the opposite approach and worked harder than ever with personal trainer Keith "Skip" Wade.
"Jalen's a natural workout warrior," Wade said. "He pushes everyone around him, and even myself to work harder. I have a really good work ethic, and he pushes me. He's very humble, and focused about things in front of him. He handles it all well, and keeps working hard,"
Despite the fact that he hasn't been able to work on his upper body because of the shoulder injury, Hurd has added strength and more than 20 pounds of muscle mass since the end of the season. While that itself is impressive, it’s been about the entire process for Wade.
"I've been working with Jalen about a year and a half now. The main progress I have seen is in his pad level, and the bulk weight he has put on throughout. When I first got with him, I could tell he was explosive, but like with any tall athlete, he kind of exposed himself with his chest up and his pad level was horrible. We do a lot of band movements to strengthen his hip flexors, the glutes and hamstrings. We make sure he gets the knees up waist level where he is explosive at the top end of his speed. Along with the work he has done, he has really dedicated himself to eating properly this offseason, so I think he has now put on 24 pounds of great weight," Wade said.
According to Wade, that work ethic has spilled over to his team.
"He's so great with his teammates. He's a leader and really encourages his teammates through the workouts. I have a good group of guys, but when Jalen comes to the group - he sets the tone for the workout. He's so motivated, he'll always ask for more; and that rubs off on the team," he said.
Hurd is set to compete at the Nike NFTC in Columbus, Ohio on June 2, and Wade expects the five-star prospect to have a great day.
"I think he'll really shock people with his 40. I wouldn't be surprised if he went down to 4.35 or around there at 230 pounds. Before the NFTC, we will work on his takeoff to make sure he is low and explosive in his first 10 yards, and when he comes up his leg drive is real explosive. I think that is what really surprised me this year -- his top end was real explosive and he ran away from everyone. His form is close to perfect. He gets to top end fast," he said.
The end goal is real simple, whether one talks to Wade or Hurd.
"His lateral quickness is an area I think he can still improve more than others. Making one hard cut and making guys miss. We want him to have the speed and ability of a scat back, and the power of a big back," Wade said.
Hurd chimed in.
"Really, I've just been working on my explosiveness and trying to keep getting quicker while also adding some weight. Kind of get everything into one big, quick and explosive back," Hurd said.
There is zero doubt Hurd sees and feels the hard work paying off.
"My body feels really good. I feel very explosive, and more so than last year already. I'm really excited for next season, and where I'm at physically." He said.
Only one thing has truly surprised Wade to this point, and it has nothing to do with rushing for 3,000 yards the elite athleticism his prize pupil possesses.
"I didn't see the Tennessee commitment coming. He had kind of talked about the U.S. Army All-American game and the possibility of announcing there. When he committed to UT when he did, it was kind of a shock. When we have always talked recruiting, it has always been more about life after football more than a school. We had no idea he was going to make an early commitment. I'm happy for him, and that he is at peace with his decision." He said.
A look at Hurd’s record-setting season
TSAA season rushing record – 3,357 yards besting the former record of 3,082.
TSAA season scoring record – 296 points besting the former record of 290.
BlueCross Bowl (state title game) rushing record – 394 yards besting the former record of 322.
BlueCross Bowl touchdowns and scoring record – Seven touchdowns and 46 total points scored. The former record was six touchdowns and 36 points.
Hurd also finished second in state history with 46 touchdowns (record is 48) and all-purpose yards with 3,575 (record is 3,630).
- Wade hopes to keep Hurd at 230-235 pounds until August when practice starts. He expects him to lose 5-10 pounds in the heat and throughout the season, and play at around 220-225 pounds as a senior.
- Wade said Hurd has improved his bench press 65 pounds in the last year and half, and now squats over 500 pounds.