When Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown held his weekly Monday press conference earlier today, he announced that there would be a new player in the starting line-up for the Horns next Saturday.
No, it isn’t back-up quarterback Case McCoy, who led the team to a come-from-behind victory in the fourth quarter against the Kansas Jayhawks last weekend, though there was some thought that there may be a new quarterback controversy emerging between him and David Ash. (Brown did go on to state that Ash would remain the starter, and rightfully so.)
Instead, freshman stand-out Johnathan Gray has been named the team’s No. 1 running back for their upcoming game vs. the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Joe Bergeron, the former starter, is listed as the back-up and Malcolm Brown, who has missed several games with an ankle injury, is listed as third on the depth chart.
Though the Longhorns will continue to use a running-back-by-committee approach, it’s an honor for a true freshman to be named as the No. 1 guy on a team that boasts several great running backs, particularly considering that Brown is not historically known for starting freshmen over older players.
Entering into the season, the running back who led Aledo High School to three Texas state championship titles and holds the national high school record for career touchdowns (205) was considered by most to be the top running back in the nation. So far, he has definitely lived up to the hype.
Through eight games this season, Gray has shown why many expect that he will end up as one of the best running backs in the country sooner than later. He is averaging more than five yards per carry and just completed his first 100+ rushing game vs. the Jayhawks on Saturday.
Only time will tell how Gray’s collegiate career will turn out, but if the first half of his freshman season is any indication, things could be exciting for the Texas Longhorns for the next few years.