MOUNT JULIET, Tenn. – Running back Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech) began the 2012 season as the No. 47 ranked prospect in the class of 2014 Top247. After watching the 6-foot-2.5, 210-pound Hurd in a Friday night win over Mt. Juliet, that’s about to change as today Hurd moves to a five-star rating and the No. 11 overall prospect in the 2014 class on 247Sports.
It’s not the fact that Hurd rushed for 299 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries in the 27-20 win last Friday night that is going to vault Hurd to the lofty status. It’s also not the fact that the uber-talented prospect has 1,544 yards and 19 touchdowns through five games that is going to do it either.
In fact, Hurd’s XBox stats has nothing to do with his rise in the rankings. It’s all about the pure talent he has been blessed with combined with having big time running back characteristics, as well as the athleticism, size and versatility to excel at several positions if he were to ever walk away from the running back position.
While the long runs full of burst and acceleration can be what fans see in the highlights of running back, and he certainly has those, it’s everything that happens before the finish that makes Hurd a five- star running back prospect.
First, Hurd looks very natural in his stance. He can be quick to the hole when need be lined up seven yards deep, but he also shows the ideal patience to set blocking up followed by quick bursts. The ball is carried, and protected naturally in his hands high and tight with a near ideal pocket. He shows quick and reactive vision, including impressive cutback vision. He possesses very good feet in the hole, he presses the hole, has shown a jump cut and skip cut; and can work and burst laterally. On contact, he does a very good job of getting small and especially considering he is over 6-foot-2, plays low to high, runs with physicality and finishes with forward lean, leg drive and low pads. Physically, he’s naturally strong, and especially in his hips and core. Hurd also has soft hands, and the feet and change of direction ability to run routes from the slot or lined up as an outside receiver.
On Friday in particular, it was how Hurd accumulated his 299 yards that was beyond impressive. His ability to grind out first downs and a long drive against ten in the box in a go ahead fourth quarter more than dozen play drive that showed his ability to not only play running back on the next level, but be a complete back.
The drive started with a run for no gain. Following was runs of nine, eight, six, three, five, four, two, seven, two and the go ahead 11-yard scoring run than ended with vertical cut and physical finish crossing the goal line. All told, Hurd ran 11 times for 57 yards, grinding out every single yard with quick and active feet, patience and quick bursts, low pads and a lot of forward lean with a feel for where the first down yard marker sat.
Like the very good, and great running backs do, Hurd got stronger and stronger as the game moved along. After rushing for 131 yards on 14 carries in the first half, Hurd took 23 hand offs for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
All told, the 2014 prospect with over a dozen verbal offers made two runs of 40 yards or more, three other runs of 15 yards or more, nine runs of 10 or more yards; and never a run for a loss on the night.
On the recruiting front, Hurd attended the Florida-Tennessee game as a guest of the Volunteers Saturday. Among his offers are Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio State, Michigan, Vanderbilt, Georgia, South Carolina and Notre Dame. The Gators are the school Hurd is hoping offers next.
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