Butch Jones confirms star Jalen Hurd will transfer from Tennessee
Hurd was a unanimous preseason All-SEC Second Team selection entering the season
The tumble for Tennessee continued over the weekend with an embarrassing 24-21 loss at South Carolina, the third straight defeat for the Vols. It reached a new peak on Monday when coach Butch Jones confirmed that star running back Jalen Hurd has decided to transfer from the team.
Earlier Monday, reports of unrest within the locker room began adding to the turmoil of the three-game skid. Sports radio station WNML in Knoxville reported that Hurd told teammates planned to transfer after the season in order to continue his career at a different offensive position.
Hurd is supposedly displeased with Tennessee's running style and believes his NFL career will last longer if he plays wide receiver.
Jones made those rumors fact during his Monday press conference: Hurd is leaving.
The coach said he met with the star running back Monday morning but would not discuss the Hurd's reasons for wanting to transfer. He offered his support to Hurd and said he "hopes he finds everything he's looking for."
Hurd led the Vols with 451 rushing yards and three touchdowns and ranks as one of the program's all-time leading rushers with 2,638 yards across his three-year career.
From the outside, the exit of Hurd, one of the five most highly-rated Butch Jones signees according to 247Sports, is as unceremonious and ugly as the end of the Vols' SEC title hopes.
Tennessee began the season as the favorite in the SEC East with a plethora of top-10 talent. Injuries have depleted its roster, particularly on defense, and a brutal schedule with back-to-back games against Alabama and Texas A&M took the wind out of the Vols' sails after they finally ended their long losing streak to Florida.
Jones is now in the position of having to defend himself and the program to outsiders hyper-aware of any unsettled circumstances behind the scenes. The worst midseason storyline is a hype train that's gone off the rails, as every cryptic player tweet becomes a new discussion point for team chemistry.
All things must come to an end pic.twitter.com/Zd9YuNLNnD— Jonathan Kongbo (@Kongbo_1) October 30, 2016
As it turns out, Jonathan Kongbo's "All things much come to an end" Tweet was actually about losing a game of FIFA, not the end of Kongbo's Tennessee career. It's just that kind of week in Knoxville.
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