If there's one trait that Justin Stockton picked up from previous running back and current Texas player Malcolm Brown, it's his humble nature. Ask Stockton about a swing pass that he took into the end zone against Austin High, and he'll tell you that quarterback Tommy Armstrong audibled to the play, creating the space. Ask him about a big run, and he'll tell you that the linemen created it by doing their jobs."
"We all depend on each other," Stockton said. "We're a big family. Tommy's the leader. He picks us up. We just have to go out and execute."
As him about his play this year, and he'll thank God for his ability and the Steele coaches for seeing it in him and getting him prepared.
That talent is considerable. Stockton has already broken several of Brown's lifting records for his position and age group. And he's faster than Brown, boasting a 40-yard dash in the 4.4 range (he clocked 4.46 in the spring after his freshman year). Coaches in the area have compared him to former five-star recruit Aaron Green, who signed with Nebraska in the Class of 2011, for his speed, acceleration and ability to make plays in space.
But while Stockton was an excellent player as a freshman, averaging almost 10 yards per carry behind Brown, he needed to toughen up to carry the primary load as a sophomore. So the Steele coaches pushed Stockton by running him over and over again in the spring, getting him used to the work load. Stockton admitted that it was tough work.
"I thank Coach (Michael) Jinks for that," Stockton said. "He made me more mature. I had to grow up. I had to take more responsibility."
As a sophomore, Stockton hasn't really started hearing from schools yet. But he said he's always followed Florida State and Alabama. The former school he learned to love while growing up in Florida, and the Seminoles rank as his mother's favorite team. He moved to Texas as an eighth grader. An uncle is an Alabama fan and turned Stockton on to the Crimson Tide, where he enjoyed watching Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.
But the recruiting will come as Stockton gets older. For now, Stockton said he's trying to emulate Brown in the most important department: leading the Knights to a state title.
"Our goal is to just go game by game, and when Dec. 17 comes and the state championship gets here, we're going to be ready to play."