The number of uncommitted Texas Longhorns targets at running back in the 2016 class will decrease by one on Friday when Plano's Brandon Stephens makes his choice between Alabama, Colorado, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, and Washington.
There hasn't been much buzz around the 6'1, 215-pounder and the Longhorns in the weeks since he named Texas in his top six, raising doubts as to whether he currently holds a committable offer -- after taking three running backs in the 2015 cycle, landing numbers at the position isn't the priority. Instead, it's about landing the best running back available, which is clearly Beaumont Central's Devwah Whaley, the state's top running back and the consensus No. 4 running back nationally.
Make no mistake, Stephens is a solid back who put up more than 1,200 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior. But as the No. 20 running back nationally and the No. 62 player in the state, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, he doesn't profile as a potentially game-changing back. Even head coach Charlie Strong told him at one point this spring that he wanted to see Stephens put everything together on the field.
If Texas doesn't have a committable offer out to Stephens and wasn't in full pursuit of Geoge Ranch running back Darius Anderson when he commited to Missouri back in July, then the hope is that it's a sign the staff feels strongly about its chances with Whaley.
However, there's a certain risk involved in waiting on Whaley -- if he decides to commit elsewhere, as his 247Sports Crystal Ball believes, then the staff will be left scrambling to fill that spot in the class. Plus, Donald Catalon left the program with four years of eligibility remaining, a move that could conceivably open up another spot for a running back in this class or at least increase the pressure to take a player at the position.
Right now, there aren't a lot of targets either, as there are only six offers out to running backs. Since Port Arthur Memorial's Kameron Martin looks solid to Baylor and Southlake Carroll's Lil'Jordan Humphrey is more of an athlete, that only leaves Katy's Kyle Porter other than Whaley and Stephens as the uncommitted targets.
So Friday will provide a little more perspective on whether it is basically Whaley or bust for the Longhorns in 2015 at running back.