When national signing day hit earlier in the week, Oklahoma Sooners fans were treated to head coach Bob Stoops and his staff bringing in a very solid group of 24 commitments to the program that most hope will help elevate one of the best football programs in the country back to prominence.
And one position where the Sooners did particularly well was at running back. They were able to get a commitment from Keith Ford, a 4 star recruit from Cypress Ranch HS in Cypress, TX. He’s a beefy 5-11 and 195lbs, and has a very well-rounded skill set. He’s very physical, getting lots of yards after first contact. He drives his legs and gets through arm tackles. But he’s also got really good vision and quick feet. He can make nice cuts, making defenders miss and when he’s in the open field he’s deceptively fast.
But how quickly he is entrenched as the starter is a bit of a mystery. The Sooners already have a starting running back in Damien Williams who was very good for the Sooners last year. Williams finished the year with only 946 yards, but did that in a pass heavy offense. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry and was at times a real homerun threat. He’s a different kind of back than Ford. He’s longer and leaner and runs a little more upright, showing good patience and hitting the hole with speed.
What the Sooners offense is going to look like in 2013 remains a mystery. But I have my suspicions that we will see a much more balanced run/pass ratio and one of these backs, either Williams or Ford will end up with the Lion’s share of the carries. The fact of the matter is, Ford is the future. He’s the best running back recruit that’s come into Oklahoma since current Dallas Cowboys running back Demarco Murray back in 2006. And just as Murray wowed everyone very early in his career, I expect Ford to do the same. I rooted for Williams last season as he took over the starting spot from incumbent running back Dominique Whaley, and this season the same thing may happen to him.