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The Tennessee Volunteers knew that they were going to make North Carolina a priority in the 2021 recruiting cycle. The premium placed on the Tar Heel state in this cycle meant that the Vols were even more excited to see former Volunteer running back and North Carolina native Jay Graham return to the coaching staff in Knoxville. Graham has been the position coach of some of the most productive running backs in the nation during his coaching career, and he has also earned the reputation of an excellent recruiter. Graham’s ties to his home state paid dividends today, as the Vols secured a commitment from three-star running back Jaylen Wright from Southern High School (Durham, NC).

It is fair to say that Graham may see much of himself in Wright, as the two are similar in terms of how they look coming out of high school. Wright is 6’0” tall and right at 200 pounds. He despite carrying a solid amount of weight for his size, he has a lean build. That lean build likely contributes to his greatest asset as a ball carrier, another characteristic that he shares with Graham, his elite speed. Wright has won a state championship in track, and that speed translates to the football field. If Wright gets into the open field, it almost always results in a touchdown. The Vols have focused in the last two classes at bringing elite speed into the program, particularly on offense, and Wright continues that trend. Wright is a solid receiver out of the backfield, making him dangerous as an every down back, and a threat to hurt teams on screens or designed, downfield routes. While Wright's game is built around his elite acceleration and speed, he is more than a track star in pads. Wright does have a build that is larger than many track stars playing running back. As a result, he shows the strength to break tackles on the edge, often set up by out running the angles of defensive backs.

The Vols look to continue to pound North Carolina in the 2021 class, but they added a valuable piece in Wright today. Much like Jalin Hyatt in the 2020 class, Wright’s tape shows that he is likely to rise up boards as the process goes on. His elite speed is game breaking, while showing the strength to be a complete back. The addition of Jay Graham helped the Vols here, and they are hoping the addition of Wright and Graham's recruiting pay further dividends.

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