Now that Texas is done recruiting at their position of greatest need in the class -- offensive line -- the main storyline for the remainder of the process is what happens with recruiting at the running back position, another major need. Fueling the high-stakes nature of recruiting at the position in 2011 is the incredible depth of talent in the class this year.
Will Longhorn fans eventually end up waiting until next year again, eventually focusing on Johnathan Gray as the object of their desires, just as they did last season with Malcolm Brown and Aaron Green when things went sour with Lache Seastrunk?
Big Board after the jump...Needs: Two or three
|Brandon Williams||Brookshire-Royal||Feb. 27 -- did not attend
Committed to Baylor (2/15/10)
De-committed from Baylor, Committed to Oklahoma (4/19/10)
2/10 -- Wow. Gimme, gimme. It doesn't take long for Williams to blow you away on film. Closest thing to Adrian Peterson since AD himself -- runs hard, has elite speed, but is probably an even more polished receiver than AD at the same age. Has the size to be effective in blitz pick up. No questions about size or speed.
3/1 -- After his commitment, the word was that Williams was not planning on taking visits, but will visit Oklahoma -- hard to call a kid who is committed and taking visits a "solid verbal."
3/17 -- Reportedly visited Austin for a practice last week. Safe to say now that his verbal to Baylor is a soft one.
3/28 -- May visit Austin for a second time for the spring game, though it looks like that trip won't happen now.
4/19 -- Supposedly ended his recruitment for good with Oklahoma commitment. Probably a pretty expected loss for Baylor fans, but devastating nonetheless.
|Malcolm Brown||Cibolo Steele||Feb. 13||Offered||70%||
2/10 -- Extremely solidly built back who runs with a bulldozing mentality and has plenty of speed. Elite speed? No, but plenty of speed. The concern is that he isn't a perfect fit in the Texas scheme.
3/22 -- The change in scheme effectively eliminates any concerns about Brown as his balance, toughness, and speed become more apparent over increased film viewing. Film. Consider any and all doubt removed at this point.
4/19 -- Brown revealed this week ($) that he is looking seriously at Texas,
|Aaron Green||San Antonio Madison||Feb. 13
2/10 -- A late injury and an overall subpar junior season has dropped Green's stock a bit, but his sophomore success was not a fluke -- he's an elite talent.
3/28 -- Expected to visit for the spring game. Reportedly not interested in Oklahoma at this point. Film.
4/19 -- Spoke glowingly about his trip to Nebraska for the spring game, calling it a "10." Does, however, like the new changes in the Texas offense to a downhill running scheme.
|Herschel Sims||Abilene||Feb. 27 -- did not attend
2/10 -- Excellent receiver and in the return game. Perhaps best pure burst of all the backs. At around 5-8 or 5-9, his size is a concern and he may not project to be an every-down back in college and his ability to pick up the blitz is questionable at best.
3/1 -- Watching him in the state championship left questions about his pure speed. Was basically told by the Texas coaching staff that he was not going to receive an offer at the second Junior Day and did not attend -- Mack Brown and company simply have Brown and Green ranked more highly.
3/17 -- Doesn't have elite burst/speed and is trapped in an undersized body. Even after a spectacular junior season in terms of production and a 5A state championship, Sims' stock is now falling amidst concerns that he doesn't have elite-level quickness. Film.
4/19 -- Rumored that OU has dropped their offer and TCU could now be in the lead.
|Bradley Marquez||Odessa||Feb. 27 -- did not attend
Big OU fan experienced as a blocker and receiver, but lacks the explosiveness and top-end speed of the top prospects in the class. Second tier.
4/20 -- OU reportedly done with recruiting at the running back position.
|Daniel Lasco||The Woodlands||Feb. 27 -- did not attend
2/10 -- Burst onto the scene with a huge sophomore season and has excellent speed, but a little lanky and doesn't have a lot of shake in his hips. Questionable if he is a running back at the next level. Reportedly prefers the Florida schools. Second tier.
3/1 -- Looks extremely fast on film and has one-cut ability to fit the zone scheme and could even project as an athlete. Little chance of receiving an offer at this point. Film.
|Joe Bergeron||North Mesquite||Feb. 13||Offered
Committed to Texas (2/13/10)
2/10 -- Big kid with excellent feet for his size who could be the short-yardage replacement for Cody Johnson and also spend some time at fullback. Virtual lock for commitment.
Outstanding offers: Malcolm Brown and Aaron Green
- Brown -- Late spring or early summer.
- Green -- National Signing Day.
Moving forward: The major news here is the commitment of Brandon Williams to Oklahoma, apparently ending his recruitment and closing the window of opportunity the Longhorns had to attempt to get him into the fold. With most of the top backs in the class interested in Oklahoma, it always seemed like the Sooners might secure the first major running back commitment before the other pieces started to fall into place.
Malcolm Brown is now refuting reports from his coach that he will announce his decision at the end of spring practice, instead pushing his timetable back into the summer. Publicly, Brown isn't saying much about any leaders, but conventional wisdom clearly holds that the Longhorns are in excellent shape and his comments to Inside Texas about liking the new Texas scheme and preferring to run downhill are promising.
The seemingly forgotten man in all this is Aaron Green, the early object of desire for Texas fans after his sensational sophomore season. Like Brown, he also prefers a more downhill scheme, a sentiment he has expressed for some time. The changes in the Texas offense may bode even better for Green than they do for Brown because Green has spent so much more time talking about the type of offense he prefers. However, Nebraska seems to be in the driver's seat with Green.
Even with as much has changed with Williams switching his commitment, Green loving his visit to Nebraska and Brown mum on leaders and pushing back his timetable, as far as Texas is concerned, little has really changed. Wiliams mostly came off the board when he committed to Baylor before making it in for a Junior Day and everyone behind the scenes is still saying that Texas is in great shape with Brown.
As recruiting hits a lull during the summer, rest assured that discussion will continue ad nauseum about recruiting at the running back position, with the alarmists taking the position that Major Applewhite isn't proven enough as a position coach to draw the top talent. The grass is greener crowd will turn their attention to 2012 stud Johnathan Gray. As far as the overall narrative to the class, the running back position has always been of paramount interest and that doesn't look likely to change until Malcolm Brown makes a decision some months from now.