As the Texas Longhorns prepare for the 2013 football season, it's worth assessing the entire scholarship chart to take a deeper look into the immediate and distant future for the program at each position.
(Italics indicate a player who is committed but not yet signed.)
|1||Johnathan Gray||Johnathan Gray||Johnathan Gray||Donald Catalon|
|2||Malcolm Brown||Malcolm Brown||Daje Johnson||Kevin Shorter|
|3||Joe Bergeron||Joe Bergeron||Donald Catalon||D'Onta Foreman|
|4||Daje Johnson||Daje Johnson||Kevin Shorter|
|5||Alex De La Torre (FB)||Donald Catalon||D'Onta Foreman|
|6||Chet Moss (FB)||Kevin Shorter||Alex De La Torre|
|8||Alex De La Torre|
The Horns are short at running back this season, as having five scholarship backs would be ideal and was the plan until Kyle HIcks flipped to TCU and Larry Porter was unable to find another ballcarrier on short notice.
Heading into the 2014 season, the stable will suddenly be full again with the expected additions of Catalon, Shorter, and Foreman, all of whom may redshirt, though it would make sense to play at least one of them to avoid having four or more backs as freshmen in 2015. The issue is that carries are going to be hard to come by even in the up-tempo offense and it might not be worth burning a redshirt for a few carries here and there.
Having three running backs in the 2014 class could be having an impact on 2015 recruiting efforts, where Rodney Anderson and Jay Bradford have both already committed to Texas A&M, though that may be more about A&M recruiting momentum in general. The targets left on the board currently are Chris Warren and Soso Jamabo, the two big backs who could both grow out of the position, Jordan Stevenson, who just transferred from Skyline to South Oak Cliff, and JaMycal Hasty.
Stevenson has Texas as his leader and Jamabo is also high on the Horns, while Warren may end up going out of state. Hasty, meanwhile, was extremely high on A&M before the pledges of Anderson and Bradford and also likes Baylor, but the Horns are fighting to open to his eyes about Texas, though there is unquestionably a ways to go before he could be considered a significant possibility. Right now, Baylor looks like the favorite.
In looking at the scholarship chart, it isn't quite apparent yet whether Texas will choose to take one or two backs in the class, but the problem is that in an offense that will rely heavily on inside zone and will best feature backs who can slide gaps to out-leverage linebackers, neither Warren nor Jamabo are great fits because they don't possess that dynamic lateral ability, though they are certainly excellent talents in their own rights -- Jamabo is a five-star prospect and the top running back in the country in the 247Sports composite and Warren a strong four-star recruit.
Running back and quarterback are two of the most important positions to follow in regards to the 2015 class, so it will be interesting to see how both shake out in the next 18 or so months.
At fullback, Chet Moss is still occupying a scholarship despite looking as if he won't contribute during the next two seasons since he's been passed by a younger player, which would typically be a death knell for a player interested in playing time, but doesn't seem to have impacted Moss. Alex De La Torre is the starter for the time being, but it appears as if Major Applewhite is more interested in using Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown as blockers than to use a one-dimensional player like De La Torre.
Depending on the physical development of D'Onta Foreman, the Horns may have to take a fullback or another big back in the 2015 or 2016 class, with the latter probably more likely since Foreman could do some blocking at around 220-225 pounds, which shouldn't be hard for him to reach within two seasons of working in the Texas strength and conditioning problem.
Want to know more about why the Texas defense fell apart last season and how Manny Diaz can fix it? What about insight into Major Applewhite's influences and how they will impact the new Texas offense? Or why you should believe in David Ash making the jump this season? Get all the answers in 2013 In the Huddle: Texas.