It is no secret that the Texas Longhorns have a deep stable of highly talented running backs going into the 2013 NCAA Football season, but will they all stick around?
There is already talk around campus in Austin about the possibility of sophomore QB Connor Brewer transferring due to the high odds of him being the odd man out in future quarterback battles at Texas. Somehow, though, nobody is talking about the struggle for touches at the running back position.
Both Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron will be juniors in 2013 while Johnathan Gray and Daje Johnson will be heading into their sophomore years. While Texas has adopted a running back by committee mindset, Bergeron got a lot of play time in 2012 due to Brown missing six games due to injury. It was the sophomore Gray, however, that saw the highest amount of touches.
Gray runs the wildcat like a boss and also happens to be the most complete running back on Texas’ roster. He has the best combination of speed and power out of all four of the Longhorns’ RBs,and it will be exciting to see what a year of reps and an offseason of lifting will do for the kid. Given the right amount of touches, I strongly believe that Gray can become the third Texas running back to win a Heisman Trophy before his time in burnt orange is up.
Johnson is a speedster who is great on reverses. I see him filling the roles of Marquise Goodwin and D.J. Monroe on the team now that they have graduated. Methinks that Texas’ new up-tempo offense will serve Johnson well.
Brown is a beast at 6’, 223 pounds and is extremely dangerous with the ball, but has had his playing time hampered by injury for both of his first two season at Texas.
While none of the Longhorns’ running backs have even hinted at transferring, there is a real possibility of that happening. That said, I can see a few different scenarios playing out at Texas in 2013:
1) Gray becomes the featured back, Bergeron and Brown are supplemental and Johnson is the speedy change of pace. Either Brown or Bergeron transfer in order to get more touches.
2) Texas continues to use a committee approach and juggle Gray, Brown and Bergeron while Johnson is the speedster. One of the three being juggled transfers to get his fair share of touches elsewhere.
3) Either of the above versions play out, but all three guys realize that Texas is the best place for them. This is highly unlikely.
From my seat, I’d say that the first scenario is most likely to happen. Gray is a monster and, as I said, is the most complete weapon the Longhorns have. Both Bergeron and Brown have the talent to start at a smaller school and run for obscene amounts of yardage. What it really depends on is if they are more concerned about playing at Texas and making a National Championship run in the next two years, which Texas will do, or if they would rather build their NFL draft stock for the future.
I’d love to see all four of these insanely talented guys stay at Texas, but odds are one of them will jump ship just like Brewer probably will. If that happens I couldn’t begrudge them at all because they possess the talent to be number one guys.
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