Jaylen Wright did not have a high school season last fall due to a COVID-19 shutdown in the state of North Carolina. The Durham-area (N.C) standout would end up enrolling at Tennessee before the Tar Heel State kicked off its winter season.
Much like any Freshman, there were certain adjustments for Wright to make, but he has started his time at Tennessee on the right foot.
"In the spring, you know, it was a big adjustment to go through, you know, coming from high school, but, like, two weeks in, I got used to it and got used to the system and started running the ball good and just started making plays on the field," Wright said on Wednesday of last week.
Wright's blazing speed is undeniable as he is one of the fastest players in the conference despite carrying a solid frame. So the next jump for him had to be this fall, and he is taking it.
"First of all, Jaylen Wright has done an excellent job," Running Backs Coach Jerry Mack said earlier this morning. "I would say these last six practices or so. He has really grown leaps and bounds to be honest with you."
So where has right grown for the Vols this fall as he looks poised to be the third back in for Tennessee?
"What we've seen from him from the spring is really just from a protection standpoint," Mack added about Wright's progress. He's really made some good grounds in protection. He understands what we're trying to do. His eyes are in the right place, a lot faster than they were in the springtime. I think that's a compliment to what he's been doing in the offseason and how he's been working and putting time in the film room."
Taking that next step is key for Wright to consistently find the field this fall.
"He's a young man who wants to play as a true freshman," Mack continued. "I think that's one of his goals. Not we talk to him about that, but his family as well. I do also think just from a maturity standpoint, one of the things that he has done a good job with, when things don't go quite the way that he would like them to in practice, in the spring we saw an emotional Jaylen Wright. I think this fall camp, he has not been as emotional at all. He's taken heed to what Coach Heupel talks about, putting that play behind you and moving on to the next play. I think that's where Jaylen Wright has been most impressive right now. He's putting one good practice on top of another. He had another good one today as well."
As Wright continues to grow into a three-down back for the Vols, it appears he will start the season behind Tiyon Evans and Jabari Small in the pecking order, but look for Tennessee to get the talented freshman plenty of touches ahead of conference play.