Over the past several cycles, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has put recruiting on the front-burner for his program. As a result, Tennessee has netted a large contingent of talented players in recent years, peaking with the No. 4 class in the country for the 2015 cycle.
On Monday, Tennessee’s 2017 class took a leap into top-10 territory when four-star running back Ty Chandler chose to stay in state and play for the Vols over 14 other Division I scholarship offers, a group that includes Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Michigan.
“It was a difficult decision,” Chandler told Tennessean.com on Monday. “I just thought about some things and tried to figure out what situation would work best for me. It wasn’t until recently I found out what I wanted to do.”
With Chandler as part of Jones’ most recent collection of recruits, Tennessee has the No. 4 class in the SEC according to 247Sports.com, and his importance in the group cannot be understated. Tennessee sports a strong rushing attack behind Jalen Hurd and John Kelly, but Chandler is the only running back commit for the school in the 2017 as it currently stands.
With offers under his belt from some of the premiere programs in the country, Chandler spurned those overtures for a chance to play in front of family, an important factor during his recruitment. Chandler went further in depth regarding the finer details of his announcement during the Tennessean‘s piece.
“Why not Tennessee?” Chandler said. “I just felt like it’s a great opportunity, and an opportunity to possibly come in and play as a freshman. Staying close to home and being able to have family come to games was important.”
Since he will not be leaving his home state for college, members of the Chandler clan will be able to closely track his collegiate development when the talented runner makes the leap in roughly one year. Before he reached Knoxville to play football for the Volunteers, though, Chandler will try to improve on a dominant junior campaign that earned him the distinction of the Tennessean‘s player of the year for 2015.
On the field, Chandler is a dynamic runner that can be trusted to make smart decisions with the ball. Last year, he tuned up opposing defenses for 2,585 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns, marks that certainly rank as some of the most prolific in the nation. Chandler was able to post such gaudy statistics through his strength, chiefly his ability to maintain balance and absorb contact well as a runner. While many prospects have a tendency to run upright at this stage in development, he keeps a low center of gravity through the line which allows him to change direction quickly, another feather in his cap.
Chandler is more than just a running back for Montgomery Bell Academy. The program utilizes the Tennessee commit’s 6-foot, 195-pound frame to tote the football on kickoff returns as well. This duty provides him with an opportunity to put his open-field vision to the test, another area he excels in. He has a knack for setting up blocks well and timing his cutbacks to create separation. He is not a prospect that often runs away from the field, however; it would be more apt to say he runs around the defense with an array of one-on-one moves to remain on his feet.
Look for Chandler to play in the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game at the turn of the year.