Relationships matter in recruiting and Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman built such a strong rapport with Houston Westfield running back Daniel Young that he flipped to the ‘Horns from the Houston Cougars without even taking an official visit.
RB Daniel Young is officially a Longhorn. pic.twitter.com/fkLoCFixv6— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) February 1, 2017
The recruitment of Young by Herman and Meekins at Houston was hardly without competition — the 6’0, 210-pounder had a top four that included Boise State, Minesota, and Nebraska in advance of his initial late-September decision, all schools that feature power running games.
So don’t sleep on Young, who received his offer from Texas on December 8, decommitted from Houston on December 20, and then pledged to the ‘Horns three days later, unable to wait until his official visit in January to make his final decision.
A consensus three-star prospect, Young is ranked as the No. 938 prospect nationally, the No. 55 running back, and the No. 126 player in Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Like early enrollee Toneil Carter, Young will come to Austin this summer without too many carries on his body — he toted the ball 296 times during his junior and senior seasons, gaining 2,142 yards in total and scoring 27 touchdowns.
Here’s the evaluation of Young from Inside Texas:
How he fits at Texas: Young is one of the more interesting running backs I’ve seen out of high school. He lacks breakaway speed but his first few steps typically get him to the hole and he has a spin move he uses liberally to help him cut through traffic. He’s not a guy Texas will want to try and use to flank opponents on the perimeter but he’s a wrecking ball between the tackles and if he learns to block he could be a nice complement as a RB/FB hybrid.
One of the things that makes Young appealing is that while he doesn’t have the breakaway speed of a back like Carter, he does have good speed for his size — Young ran a personal record of 11.01 in the 100 meters as a junior and could conceivably improve upon that time if he runs track as a senior.
He’s also participated in the 200, 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay, and triple jump during his time in high school.
Other verified times for Young include a 4.80 40-yard dash, 4.47 shuttle, and 34.2-inch vertical leap at the Houston The Opening Regional camp in 2016, at which Young earned position MVP honors from the Student Sports staff.
At that event, Young proved that he does have some impressive explosiveness, as evidenced by his vertical leap.
On the field during the fall, Young showed improvement, as he looked faster than he did as a junior, suggesting that there is still some physical upside for him, especially after working with running backs coach/associate head Stan Drayton, who is renowned for his ability to develop players at the position.
More importantly in projecting Young to college, he’s a legitimate 210 pounds and has a good center of gravity, a thickly-built lower body, and the willingness to play behind his pads and punish defenders in the open field.
He can also do some of the little things — there’s a clip of him in pass protection, he keeps the ball high and tight to finish runs, and though he’s not elite in terms of his jump cut or slide cut, he does make nice moves in the hole to crease defenses.
In Young, Texas found a running back who was heavily vetted by Herman and the Meekins brothers. His ceiling is as a short-yardage back and could eventually emerge as a punishing college running back because of his power and low center of gravity.