Class of 2025 running back Justin Thurman has quickly risen up recruiting boards. The four-star prospect has visited campus twice since being extended a scholarship offer from Tennessee football.
Thurman, out of Jesuit (Fla.) High School, camped with the Vols last week for their Night at Neyland camp. Aside from the normal camp drills and combine-like testing, Thurman got to spend time with running backs coach Jerry Mack one-on-one.
“It was great, honestly,” Thurman said. “I would say thiar his teaching style and his philosophy about how he wants his players to approach the game is very, very, great. His coaching style, everything that he does. And I believe that he wants what’s best for the players and he wants to put everybody, but also too specifically the running backs, in the best position for success.”
Thurman ranks as the No. 275 prospect nationally and the No. 26 running back in the 2025 class according to 247Sports Composite. The 6-foot and 180-pound back impressed Tennessee’ staff with his speed and versatility.
“He definitely said he liked my speed first off,” Thurman said. “And also too, he liked my ability to catch the ball out of the back field, but also out the slot too, just being a versatile back. Being able to be a three down back too and, and basically utilize all my skill skillset to help the offense, like keep a fast tempo because at Tennessee they run a pretty fast offense.
“They like to get plays off as quickly as they can. So he definitely likes me being a three-down back and being able to be versatile so that they don’t have to sub somebody in for a specific down.”
The Night at Neyland camp wasn’t the first time Thurman got on campus, but he also was in Neyland for the Orange and White game. Just half the stadium, Thurman got to experience a game day routine.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Thurman said. “It was very lively for the whole entire spring game. I was able to just kind of see what it’s like kind of on the game day and just how the crowd supports the team and how basically the team operates on a game day schedule. And it was a great day. I was able to learn a lot from it.”
During both of his visits, Thurman got to interact with head coach Josh Heupel. The most recent included dinner with the head coach.
Heupel likes what he saw out of the upcoming junior, and gave him some advice for the future.
“He says they have a very bright future and just told me to continue to do what you’re doing, continue to work,” Thurman said.
“I would say it definitely means a lot being able to get good feedback from a coach and being able to recognize that a coach has a pretty significant interest in me and basically just having confidence in me and also too what I can contribute to the program. I think he’s doing a great thing at Tennessee especially as you saw from last year when 11-2. So definitely I think he’s doing great things at Tennessee.”
Thurman plans to camp with Auburn, UCF, Notre Dame and Alabama in June. Early in his recruitment, he currently holds 10 offers.
Tennessee has quickly separated itself for Thurman.
“Those schools kind of like Tennessee, they’ve been able to have more in-depth conversations about the program and how I fit into it and how I fit would fit into the overall environment school. Those schools have definitely have piqued my interest a little bit more.”