Pursuit Of Running Backs Gears Up

Butler County Community College standout Chris Carson told us earlier this week that he is looking for a school that can place him on a path to the NFL and that Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was coming to see him as soon as the dead period ends next week. Carson is a primary example of how OSU is targeting premier running backs down the stretch in recruiting.

The Cowboys lost early commitment Ronald Jones, who flipped to USC, Tyreek Hill was dismissed from the squad following an off-the-field domestic situation, and Cactus Bowl Offensive Player of the Game Desmond Roland is a senior. In other words, there is immediate opportunity for running backs to carry the ball in Stillwater.

We know that Jones heard negative recruiting on how the Oklahoma State offense is not running the ball as much, the offensive line has struggled, and a myriad of other rumors that the finish to the Cowboys season with a Bedlam win over Oklahoma and the bowl win over Washington have negated.

The truth is Roland carried 32 times for 127 yards in the 30-22 Cactus Bowl win and even defensive tackle James Castleman got in the act as the 300-pounder scored on a one-yard touchdown run.

The offensive line has progressed and with the transfer of Victor Salako (6-6, 320) from UAB and junior college standouts Brandon Pertile (6-6, 295 and signed with OSU over Florida) and Matt Kellerman (6-5, 290) already on campus for the spring semester the offensive line is getting better and more powerful in a hurry.

On Thursday, Gundy added former Youngstown State head coach Eric Wilford, who has extensive experience helping coach blockers for the run game. He will handle tight ends and help continue to improve the offense in that area.

Anybody that has followed Gundy's career from his time quarterbacking and handing off to the likes of Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders to his development of backs like Dantrell Savage, Kendall Hunter of the 49ers, and Joseph Randle of the Dallas Cowboys knows he is pretty serious about running the football and always has been.

Besides Carson, OSU has offered the likes of Chris Warren from Rockwall, Aca'cedric Ware of Cedar Hill, Jordan Stevenson of Dallas South Oak Cliff, and Port Arthur Memorial's Corey Dauphine all out of the state of Texas.

Ware (USC), Stevenson (Wisconsin), and Dauphine (Texas Tech) are committed to other schools, but that did not stop USC, Notre Dame, and others from tugging at Ronald Jones. Now we've run across a couple of other backs that are on the Pokes radar screen (and some Cowboys fans were bird dogging these two).

Nicholas Brossette is the running back that helped Baton Rouge University Lab to a 15-0 record and a state championship as he took handoffs from LSU head coach Les Miles's son Manny, who quarterbacked the Cubs. The 6-0, 207-pound Brossette was starting at University Lab as an eighth grader when he rushed for 1,024 yards and 22 touchdowns.

This season he carried 220 times for 1,837 yards and 31 touchdowns. In his career he has crushed Louisiana high school records with 1,143 carries for 8,806 yards and 167 touchdowns.

Brossette committed to LSU in August after offers from the likes of Texas, where he is still scheduled to visit next weekend and Notre Dame, where he visited in October. He also had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Cal, Florida State, Miami, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and UCLA.

Oklahoma State's late pitch will feature the same message going out to all other highly regarded running backs and that is with only one veteran running back returning on scholarship in backup Rennie Childs there is lots of playing time available immediately.

The Cowboys are hoping that could appeal to Larry Scott out of Hubbard, Ohio. Another top national running back recruit, Scott committed to Michigan State in July as he was recruited by former Spartan defensive coordinator and now Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi.

The 6-1, 219-pound Scott rushed 295 times this season for 2,819 yards and 38 touchdowns. He averaged 9.6 yards a carry. He also caught eight passes for 110 yards. He had 38 tackles on defense with 5 tackles for loss, and 5 interceptions.

Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and West Virginia all offered Scott, and now Oklahoma State is making a late push loaded with carries available as a true freshman.

The Cowboys also hired former University of Houston running backs coach Dan Hammerschmidt this week, and even though he is expected to coach over on defense he is a veteran recruiter of the Houston area and has lots of good recruiting contacts and this situation is a all hands on deck chore.

The whole scenario is going to make this potentially one of the more exciting down the stretch recruiting seasons for the Cowboys in a long time.


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