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From Haskel Stanback to Aaron Hayden to Jay Graham, UT has a long and rich history of dominant running backs. Whether you like lightning-fast waterbugs like Travis Stephens, punishers like Jamal Lewis or all-around freaks like Chuck Webb, there is a stable full of iconic ballcarriers from which to choose.
Who is your favorite? Why?
I'm gonna go with James "Little Man" Stewart. His diminutive size hid his dynamite skills, which would lead UT's balanced offense to new levels of dominance in the early 1990s. Even though "Little Man" shared the spotlight with Aaron Hayden and Charlie Garner, he stood tall and ran his way into the spotlight. I remember his explosiveness, his cutback skills and his ability to break out into the open on the most routine plays.
As a young UT fan, "Little Man" epitomized the Volunteer spirit and taught me that Wide Receiver U wasn't just known for passing.
This post was edited by WesVols 17 months ago
Travis Stephens I think is my favorite all time UT back, just because so much is put on size and measurables and he showed you it did not matter. He was a stud
I'll never forget his out-of-nowhere dominance in the 2001 Florida game. Electrifying.
I think Cobb and Webb were the height of the Vol running game. Hard to argue against Jamal Lewis being the best I ever saw play for the Vols though.
Agreed. I have a helmet signed by him. I'd put Tony Thompson in the same category, too. He assured we had very little dropoff after Cobb had left and Webb was injured.
And this discussion is exactly why, as I've posted elsewhere, I'm baffled we've not had one of them in the last decade or so.
"Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat." Sir Robin's Minstrels.
Jamal Lewis (2nd Favorite Vol of all time), Jay Graham, and James Littleman Stewart
I think I have to go with Stephens too. I followed his HS career here in Clarksville and couldn't wait for him to get his shot at UT. He didn't disappoint either. I have been doing the same with JRM and wish the best for him also. There haven't been a ton of big-time football players come out of Clarksville, but I love to see them do well when they get a shot.
Trample the Weak-Hurdle the Dead
Travis Stephens is my favorite too. How many yards did he have in that game? 200+?
Stephens' Northeast team played at Brentwood Academy in the '95 state quarterfinals. He tore up the BA defense but couldn't find the end zone. BA scored its only points on a second-quarter hail mary thrown on an untimed down following a pass interference penalty. The Eagles won 7-3 and went on to beat Riverdale in the state championship.
I remember feeling very fortunate that BA won, especially after Stephens played so impressively.
226 yards and two scores.
Any other year, the possibility that Tropical Storm Gabrielle might turn The Swamp into The Ocean on the day of the Florida-Tennessee game would have made headlines throughout SEC country. Any other year, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley would have been badgered for hourly updates on the condition of the field. Any other year, sports radio talkers would have spent hours debating how the forecasted deluge might affect Florida quarterback Rex Grossman's throwing or Tennessee defensive tackle John Henderson's pass rush.
No love for Charlie Garner? That guy was electric and produced more than 2,000 yards in just two years despite splitting carries with Aaron Hayden and James Stewart.
Staff writer for govols247 — http://www.twitter.com/RyanCallahan247 — firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for the link. That's the kind of fight and pride I hope Jones brings back to UT.
I agree 1000000% He ran with agression and explosion... the only other guy in recent memory that hit the hole and had a first 5-10 yard explosion like him was Jamal Lewis. Garner was much smaller than lewis but was hard as hell. His distinctive arm swing we he ran was awesome...John Ward could barely keep up with his Yardage countdown during runs he was so fast!
I have to add Johnny Jones to the list.... during the pretty horrible avgerage early 80's teams he was a bright spot!!! I remember him as a kid running through and around some pretty darn good teams from Ga Tech, Notre Dame and Alabama.
Not to mention he was always in the top 5 for yardage and other stats... All Time. don't know about now, but would imagine he's still there as he was consistant 1000 yard rusher for 3 years.
For me its cheese Henry,that arkansas game in 98 he just willed us in endzone that last drive.Reggie was my favorite growing up
This was by far the best cumulative backfield in UT history IMO. Defenses always faced a fresh guy. Garner was awesome.
I'm a Morristown guy so obviously Little Man (who was not so little by the way) is a favorite. Loved Garner, Hayden, Cobb, Webb, Lewis and all of those but my first memory of a great Vol back was Curt Watson and then Haskell Stanback. Don't remember a lot of specifics with Watson or Stanback but just remember they played with great passion and were difficult to tackle.
This post was edited by motownvol 17 months ago
"Never take for granted what it means to be a Volunteer." Peyton Manning
I'll go with Garner.....6+ yds a carry and his change of direction was freakish, along with Travis Henry "THE CHEESE". No one ever remembers Tony Thompson..........led the SEC in rushing his senior year. Can't forget Stanley Morgan even though he wasn't a full time TB.
By the way OP, Little Man wasn't too diminutive....6-2 / 215.
Another vote for Garner..was simply the best RB i've seen at UT. He always seemed like he was moving at twice the speed as everyone else.
"What could've been" vote - Lamarcus Coker. The quintesssential home run threat. 2nd place - Onterrio Smith.
Best RB I have ever seen!!
I'm a Jaguar fan, I've seen Fred Taylor and MJD their whole career. Chuck was better.
I'm gonna have to go with Jamal Lewis by a lot. He had a lot of success at UT and in the NFL
I have to respectfully disagree with you on that TracyB467. I think Reggie Cobb and Chuck Webb were the best backfield tandum in the history of Tennessee. Webb could have been the best one of them all if he hadn't gotten injured.
"Give him six" "We don't give a damn about the whole state of Alabama" "Grit N Grind"
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