News:Rajion Neal rushed 15 times for 62 yards against Mizzou on Saturday, while also catching two passes for 12 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield.
Analysis:Rajion Neal appears to have regained the starting tailback job and could be a sleeper play over Tennessee's last two games.
News:Rajion Neal carried seven times for 32 yards and grabbed one pass for 23 yards and a touchdown Saturday as Tennessee edged out Troy 55-48 at home in Knoxville.
Analysis:Rajion Neal returned from an ankle injury for the first time in three starts Saturday, but gave way to sophomore running back Marlin Lane, who finished the contest with 132 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Watch closely this week to see whether Lane or Neal will get the start against Auburn next Saturday.
News:Rajion Neal (ankle) is optimistic about his chances of playing against Troy on Saturday, the Chatanooga Times Free Press reports.
Analysis:Rajion Neal was listed as probable last week and didn't play, so it's anyone's guess if he will play on Saturday. If he does go, he'll get a fairly favorable matchup against Troy.
News: After missing last weekend's tilt with Alabama, Rajion Neal (ankle) is listed as probable for the upcoming game against South Carolina, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Analysis: Though this is an upgrade from his doubtful status last week, coach Derek Dooley noted that Rajion Neal is not close to being at full strength. Neal had rushed for 500 yards and five touchdowns in six games before the injury. Marlin Lane had 15 carries to shoulder the rushing load against the Crimson Tide last week.
News: Coach Derek Dooley said Rajion Neal (ankle) is doubtful for Saturday's game against Alabama, Knoxville News Sentinel writer Wes Rucker reports.
Analysis: Marlin Lane (quadriceps) and Devrin Young are expected to run -- with modest success at best -- against Alabama's ruthless defense.
News:Rajion Neal rushed nine times for 40 yards and a touchdown at Mississippi State on Saturday.
Analysis: On the downside, Rajion Neal ended up with less carries than fellow tailback Devrin Young. Neal will also find it difficult to get going next week against Alabama.
News:Rajion Neal rushed 23 times for 104 yards and one touchdown at Georgia on Saturday, while also catching five passes for 53 yards out of the backfield.
Analysis:Rajion Neal has been a workhorse for the Vols, and should receive a similar amount of touches next week at Mississippi State.
News:Rajion Neal rushed 22 times for 151 yards against Akron on Saturday, while also catching three passes for 22 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield.
Analysis:Rajion Neal is the workhorse for the Tennessee offense, but could face a tough test next week at Georgia.
News:Rajion Neal rushed 23 times for 87 yards against Florida on Saturday.
Analysis:Rajion Neal also caught two passes for 20 yards out of the backfield, and is certainly the featured rusher for Tennessee.
News:Rajion Neal rushed 13 times for 65 yards and two scores against Georgia State on Saturday.
Analysis: Despite being demoted to co-starter during the week, Rajion Neal was the most effective rusher for the Vols against the lowly Panthers.
News:Rajion Neal is now listed as co-starter along with Marlin Lane and Devrin Young, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.
Analysis:Rajion Neal didn't do well in Week 1 for Tennessee, failing to average three yards per carry, so he finds himself back in a competition for the starting role now.
News:Rajion Neal will start at running back for the Vols in their season opener, GoVolsExtra.com reports.
Analysis: In the open competition for the starting job, Rajion Neal got the edge on fellow backs Devrin Young and Marlin Lane after rushing for 100 yards on 15 carries in the team's first spring scrimmage in April. He never faltered, managing to make the spot his to lose. Young will still get almost as many carries as Neal, though.
UT Tailback Settled? Neal, Not Lane, Appears to Have Locked Up Starting Role
News:Rajion Neal appears to have locked up the starting role at tailback for the Tennessee Volunteers, with head coach Derek Dooley telling GoVolsExtra.com the youngster has "had a great camp" and is "going to have a real critical role for us" this fall.
Analysis: Dooley wouldn't confirm if Rajion Neal is his certified starter, but stated questions regarding the tailback position for Tennessee would be answered on Thursday of this week. Over his first two seasons with the Vols, Neal has combined for 331 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and produced 369 yards and an additional score on 20 catches.
News:Rajion Neal led the Volunteers with 134 yards rushing in a team scrimmage Saturday, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports.
Analysis:Rajion Neal seems to be gaining ground on Marlin Lane in the battle for carries, so we'll be downgrading the latter while giving Neal a boost in the rankings. Both players are risky investments outside of SEC-only leagues.
News: The leading receiver for the Vols against Kentucky was not Da'Rick Rogers or Mychal Rivera but rather tailback Rajion Neal, who hauled in four passes for 125 yards and a score.
Analysis: Neal is a diamond-in-the-rough for the Volunteers and will be one to watch next season. He was used as a receiver in an effort to get him and Tauren Poole on the field at the same time but could very well become the team's feature back next season.
News: In response to a faltering run game, Tennessee is looking to get more screen passes into the gameplan, which should bode well for Rajion Neal and Da'Rick Rogers.
Analysis: Rogers and Neal are thickly built athletes with great run-after-the-catch abilities, so look for them to get more targets.
News: Rather than split time at running back, Tennessee's Rajion Neal has decided to fully commit to playing wide receiver.
Analysis: Neal is built like a tailback but can run like a receiver and with Justin Hunter out for the year, the Vols could really use Neal as a pass catcher.
News: While Tauren Poole has been doing his job providing a rushing complement to Tyler Bray's high-flying passing attack, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley is looking for a solid No. 2 rusher.
Analysis:Marlin Lane seems like the logical choice as Rajion Neal is doing more and more work lined up wide.
News: Tennessee running back Tauren Poole had a nice day's work as he carried the rock 24 times for 98 yards and a score against the Grizzlies of Montana while the breakout performance came from true freshman Marlin Lane. Lane rushed for 35 yards and a score while also catching a touchdown pass.
Analysis:Rajion Neal was supposed to backup Poole but it looks like Lane has earned a spot on the field with his versatility and speed.
News: Much of the Tennessee backfield was dinged up this offseason but after the return of Tom Smith, the Vols got Rajion Neal back from a knee injury.
Analysis: Neal will be the backup to Poole and with his receiving ability, will likely see time at receiver too.
News: Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley recently discussed how he wants to use his running backs saying "You'd prefer to have two No. 1's, and those two backs carry the load."
Analysis: The top two are Tauren Poole and Rajion Neal but before you go thinking that Poole will not get his touches, remember that Neal has also been practicing at wide receiver. I would still consider Poole a workhorse and a lock for 200+ carries.
News: Younger players like Marlin Lane and Tom Smith have gotten some action lately at Tennessee as Tauren Poole and Rajion Neal have been sidelined with injuries. At wide receiver, the Volunteers have been without DeAnthony Arnett and Zach Rogers.
Analysis: Poole will be the main man in the backfield with Neal being utilized in a hybrid runner/receiver role. The extra playing time for the speedy Lane and bruising Smith will help the team in the long run.
News: Saturday's scrimmage for Tennessee was without much of their rushing attack as Tauren Poole and Rajion Neal sat out nursing injuries.
Analysis: This sounds like nothing more than a precautionary measure on the part of head coach Derek Dooley. Look for Poole to have a breakout year with Tyler Bray maturing as a passer.
News: Tennessee running back Rajion Neal has been lining up at both wide receiver and tailback in an effort to "to try to create ways to get him in space to where his speed can help him," according to head coach Derek Dooley.
Analysis: Neal is one of the team's fastest players and showed his prowess catching the ball on wheel routes last year. This is a good way to get Neal on the field.
News: Tennessee running back Toney Williams has decided to leave the program.
Analysis: Williams was expected to battle for the backup role to Tauren Poole, but with Rajion Neal around, the carries were going to be hard to come by.
News: Neale rushed six times for 36 yards and had two catches for 29 yards Saturday against South Carolina.
Analysis: Tennessee's quarterback issues could mean an uptick in carries for the Vols' running backs. Don't expect much from Neale until he proves he can score.
News: Neal rushed nine times for 79 yards against Tennessee-Martin on Saturday.
Analysis: A stellar first game for the freshman, though he is likely third on the depth chart behind David Oku and Tauron Poole.