The Texas Longhorns current seven-member 2017 class is without a running back commit, and that’s unlikely to change. Between Texas’ massive 2015 and 2016 classes, available scholarships have already proven to be a concern with the four former Baylor signees now in Austin. Considering the bulk of the roster being talent likely to be back on the Forty Acres in 2017, space is limited, as is. Excluding unforeseen attrition, adding ball carriers to a backfield already chockfull with quality talent is far from a priority, which has been reflective in the coaching staff’s recruiting efforts.
Based on the current outlook, it seems Texas is showing interest in only two running backs; La Grange product and Ohio State commit J.K. Dobbins and Florida native A.J. Davis.
Despite Charlie Strong’s well-known Florida recruiting ties, which includes Lakeland High School, it seems fairly unlikely much noteworthy buzz gets generated between Davis and the ‘Horns. Following Texas’ May 2 offer, there’s been little indication Davis has been a priority and although there’s been interest, it’s been minimal, which is understandable for the aforementioned reasons. Things could change if Texas amped up its pursuit and pushed to get Davis on campus soon, but that doesn’t look like something that will happen at the moment.
Dobbins, on the other hand, is still a possibility for the Longhorns. Until the four-star, in-state talent signs a Letter of Intent with the Buckeyes, he’s a potential flip, as Dobbins is still listening to other schools, including Texas. Longhorns running backs coach Anthony Johnson is still pressing hard to get Dobbins to Austin, and he’s not the only one with Texas commit Sam Ehlinger reportedly playing recruiter for the Longhorns at The Opening, per 247Sports.
"I've got to get on my Ohio State boy, J.K. Dobbins, I know he'll be out here."
Dobbins grew up a Longhorns fan and if Texas can string together a noticeably successful season, it’s quite possible he’s on board with Strong when National Signing Day rolls around.
If Texas can’t swing the momentum with Davis or flip Dobbins and fail to land a running back at all, the difference in 2017 will go almost unnoticed. In all likelihood, Texas’ 2017 roster will feature a two, if not three-headed beast in the backfield between what would be a senior D’Onte Foreman, a junior Chris Warren III and a junior Kirk Johnson, with would-be sophomore Kyle Porter in the mix.
While it remains to be seen what needs Texas will have entering the 2017 season, it certainly seems running back won’t make that list, thus, the Longhorns list of potential targets is reflectively limited.