Hurd, Barnett among first from UT's freshman class to change stripes

Former Middle Tennessee prep stars Jalen Hurd and Derek Barnett were among four freshmen who had black stripes removed from their helmets prior to the University of Tennessee’s Monday morning workout.

It is a symbolic gesture based on input from the players and indicates those who have best integrated themselves into the program.

In addition to Hurd, a running back from Beech, and Barnett, a defensive end out of Brentwood Academy, defensive back Emmanuel Moseley and tight end Ethan Wolf got the nod.

“Those four individuals have earned the right to have their stripes taken off,” coach Butch Jones said, according to the UT athletics website. “It is something that they will remember forever in their Tennessee careers and when your peers elect to have your stripe taken off, that is a pretty big deal. So very deservingly so.

“… It is an illustration to the rest of the younger players that you are competing against each and every day. Everything from your body language to your approach in the meeting rooms, the way you take the practice field, to your style of play is being evaluated.”

Hurd drew rave reviews in the opening days of camp when it was clear that he benefited from having enrolled at UT in January and taken part in spring workouts.

“He has a great work ethic and makes explosive plays,” senior running back Devrin Young said. “He knows that he doesn't have the luxury of time to develop as a freshman. He has to play now, and he has earned it.”

Coaches and players consistently have recognized Barnett for his performance since the start of fall camp a little more than a week ago.