Jalen Hurd misreads NFL draft process in transfer decision

Former Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd broke his silence about the decision to transfer Sunday via social media, shedding a bit of light on why one of the nation's most talented rushers walked away from the UT program as its No. 6-ranked all-time rusher.

Hurd cited a poor fit between the Volunteers' offense and his skill set as one reason for the decision.

Hurd felt he needed to find a different scheme to show scouts what he can do, but NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah isn't sure such a move was necessary for Hurd to achieve his goal.

"I don't think it's going to help or hurt his draft stock going forward, but I think he misunderstood the process with this decision," Jeremiah said. "Scouts aren't dumb. They're always making adjustments in projections for how a guy would fit in our scheme versus the one they've been in. It's very reasonable to say 'He doesn't fit what (Tennessee) is doing, but he would fit what we do better.' I think he's selling the NFL scouting community a little short, that it couldn't figure that out."

What's not addressed in Hurd's statement -- the timing of his departure and why he chose not to finish the season -- is another layer to the story that NFL clubs will want to peel away in their evaluation of him.

"He'll have to answer to that. (He's) a key part of his team, and bailed on his teammates in the middle of a season, so he'll have to answer for that," Jeremiah said. "If he's a player that teams covet, it's not going to have a huge impact, but he'll have to answer some questions."

Playing next season at the college level at another program would make Hurd a 2018 NFL Draft prospect. As a junior, however, he could also apply for early eligibility to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Underclassmen face a mid-January deadline to do so.

Hurd (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) rushed for 1,288 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2015, the first Tennessee sophomore to ever cross the 1,00-yard rushing mark. This season, he rushed for 451 yards on 122 carries, but in part due to the injuries Hurd cited in his statement, he was much less of a factor in the UT offense in October than he was in September.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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