New Tennessee football RB coach De’Rail Sims gets second chance with Dylan Sampson


New Tennessee running backs coach De’Rail Sims liked what he saw on film of Dylan Sampson, but he already knew plenty about the No. 1 ball carrier he’s inheriting.

“Me and Dylan actually had a prior relationship. I actually recruited him when I was at the University of Louisville,” Sims said during his introductory news conference Monday.

“He’s been really, really good in terms of helping this transition.”

In June 2021, Sampson visited Louisville five days after he already had committed to Tennessee. Sims was the Cardinals’ running back coach at the time, and it was his best chance to sway the talented playmaker, but Sampson stuck with the Vols.

Almost three years later, Sims is getting a second chance to coach Sampson, and he likes the prospects.

“I think you see the explosiveness jump off the tape,” Sims said. “I think you see the tenacity as he’s attacking defenses, the willingness to put his face on people and go in there and block.”

Sims replaces Jerry Mack, who left Tennessee to become the running backs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Vols were among college football’s most productive rushing offenses during Mack’s three seasons.

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Without Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small, will Vols keep rolling?

Turning Sampson into an All-SEC player will be Sims’ No. 1 priority. But developing depth in the backfield is a close No. 2.

Last season, Sampson had 604 yards rushing, 175 yards receiving and eight touchdowns, which led the team. He will step into the starting role.

But the Vols lost All-SEC performer Jaylen Wright (1,013 yards) and veteran Jabari Small (475 yards) to the NFL draft.

Sophomore Cam Seldon should slide into the No. 2 spot.

Without Wright and Small, Tennessee didn’t miss a beat in a 35-0 win…

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Author : Knox News | The Knoxville News-Sentinel

Publish date : 2024-03-04 22:18:25

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