Montgomery Bell Academy’s Ty Chandler was the epitome of a workhorse running back last season.
Chandler, The Tennessean’s 2015 Player of the Year, ran the ball a state-leading 346 times in 13 games — and has 707 carries for his career. He showed with last year’s monstrous BlueCross Bowl performance that fatigue was never a factor for the 6-foot, 195-pound back.
Expect a similar story this fall as Chandler, who finished his junior year with 2,569 yards rushing and 34 touchdowns, will once against be counted on to carry a large load for the Big Red.
“Everybody has got to their jobs,” MBA coach Marty Euverard said. “But he’s going to get the ball, just like he has the last three years.”
Chandler, last year’s Division II-AA Mr. Football Back of the Year, is on board.
“We’ve got a lot of other options, too,” said Chandler, a four-year starter with 4,816 rushing yards and 68 touchdowns for his career. “But if that’s what it comes down to then I’ll be ready for it.”
Chandler, a four-star prospect and the nation’s sixth-ranked running back according to 247Sports, comes in at No. 2 on this year’s Dandy Dozen, a list of top senior college football prospects in Middle Tennessee as selected by The Tennessean high school sports staff with input from area high school coaches and recruiting services.
“I’m totally focused on this year now,” said Chandler, who committed to Tennessee on Monday. “Focused on getting these boys back to the state championship, being out here with my brothers and just playing one more year of high school football.”
As if having every opposing defense keying on him isn’t difficult enough, Chandler will also be running behind some inexperienced blockers as the Big Red graduated all five offensive linemen from last season’s 11-2 DII-AA runner-up team.
“There are a lot of new faces, especially up front,” Euverard said. “We feel like we’ve got some good wide receivers and tight ends, we’ve just got to develop an offensive line that can open up some holes.”
And while offensive linemen Palmer Thombs, Jackson Abbey, Jackson Lampley, Hamilton Garber and Josh Key lack experience, Chandler isn’t too concerned about a lack of running lanes.
“We have a lot of guys this year that want to come in and step up immediately,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of people buying in, getting with the program and working hard.”
No. 2 — Ty Chandler
MBA, Running back
Height: 6-0 Weight: 195
247Sports composite: Four stars
College plans: Committed to Tennessee on Monday
2015 statistics: Chandler, a 2015 Mr. Football winner, racked up 2,585 yards and 34 touchdowns on a state-leading 346 carries for the Division II-AA runner-up Big Red.