April 15, 2024

Tennessee lost running backs coach Jerry Mack to the NFL this offseason, as he took the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The University of Tennessee has produced strong running backs over the past few years, so finding a replacement wasn’t an issue; they just needed to settle on the right candidate. Head coach Josh Heupel landed on a replacement on Monday – the program hired Cincinnati Bearcats running backs coach De’Rail Sims to fill the vacancy, as VolQuest’s Austin Price first reported.

Sims spent the past two of the past three years at the Power-5 level, coaching running backs at Louisville and Cincinnati. Sims’s running games usually produce – his units have been in the top 25 in each of the past three seasons. Tennessee returns Dylan Sampson and Cameron Seldon, two guys who don’t have a ton of tread on the tires and are athletically superior.

Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Sims now gets to work with both when he gets to town. As far as recruiting goes, running back Justin Baker is their sole back in the 2025 class, so those two will have to begin building a relationship. The Vols also signed running back Peyton Lewis in the 2024 cycle.

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