Carson Is Priority This Weekend

This time of year things can change very fast when it comes to recruiting and visit weekends. On top of having an important visit weekend starting on Friday, Jan. 23, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and his staff will also welcome close to 100 juniors prospect from primarily Oklahoma and Texas for their first Junior Day.

That's recruiting in that you start on the next class before even the current class is put to bed. What Gundy and the Cowboys are looking for is the addition of a top-flight running back or two to the 2015 class. That addition could be Butler County C.C. and Lilburn (Parkview), Ga. standout Chris Carson.

How much does Gundy want to add Carson to the Cowboys? Last Thursday, the first day that coaches could be back on the road recruiting following the holiday/bowls/playoffs/AFCA Convention dead period, Gundy was flying to Georgia to visit Carson and his family at their home in Georgia.

Carson is committed to Georgia, but Oklahoma State and its need at running back has piqued his curiosity. The 6-1, 215-pound Carson told me, "I'm looking for a place where I can get to the NFL."

When Carson got back to Butler on Sunday, he received a visit on Monday from Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and running backs coach Jemal Singleton. Georgia has several impressive running backs on the roster including Belk Bowl record breaker and freshman Nick Chubb.

Carson is a power runner who also has speed, good vision, and change of direction. This season he rushed for 974 yards and nine touchdowns on 139 carries. He caught 12 passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns. In high school, he rushed for 2,246 yards and 29 touchdowns in his Parkview career.

Scout's Greg Powers told a radio audience in Oklahoma on Thursday that he really likes Carson as a player and feels he is as good as any junior college running back in the nation.

"I really think a lot of him as an actual player," Powers said. "One thing that really jumps out at me on tape is while he has great instincts and vision he has a really impressive top-end speed. He has the extra gear that allows him to make those home run-type plays.

"He accelerates very quickly once he picks out his path so there is not a lot of dancing and opportunities for defenders to get their hands on him in the backfield. He has the strength and power needed to break tackles on defensive linemen and linebackers and run over defensive backs."

The key is impressing him with the visit. Oklahoma State's facilities from the apartments the players live in to the West End Zone facility with the locker room, weight room, meeting rooms, coach's offices, and training table blow prospects away.

It appears that Carson won't drive to Stillwater from Butler alone as his teammate Antwan Hadley will travel with him. Hadley recently committed to Western Kentucky and he is a 6-3, 205-pound cornerback, a jumbo corner originally from Lake Wales, Fla., that was a receiver and linebacker in high school. Over the past two seasons at Butler he has made 107 tackles and picked off three passes.

Speaking of defenders, Cowboy pledge Kevin Henry from Baton Rouge (Central), La., had a conflict last week so he will make his way to Stillwater this weekend. Another big defensive back, Henry is 6-1, 200-plus pounds and could very well end up playing the Cowboys "star" linebacker hybrid position.

This season the former LSU commit that switched to OSU is ranked as the 18th-best prospect in Louisiana. He earned All-State honors with 80 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three interceptions, six fumbles forced, one fumble recovery, and 20 pass break-ups.

"It was a tough season all around, but me being a leader, I had to keep my head up, stay mentally focused and just keep everybody going so we wouldn't fall off and could just (together) stay as a team," Henry said to the New Orleans Times-Picayune website NOLA. "That was the only thing that was on my mind."

As for his on-the-field accomplishments, Henry talked about those as well. "As in the interceptions, being able to read the quarterback and jump the routes and come up and make the tackle," Henry told NOLA. "Most of all, playing the ball and being a ballhawk."

In the category of hopeful are standout athlete and recent Texas de-commitment Louis Brown of Burton, Texas and running back prospect in Aca'cedric Ware from Cedar Hill, Texas.

Brown has been committed to Baylor and then Texas and last weekend while on his visit to the Longhorns announced his de-commitment by saying Texas wasn't for him. He is a small-town kind of guy coming from Burton and the speculation is Oklahoma State and Stillwater will be in his comfort zone. As a 6-6, 210-pounder he could be a defensive end, outside linebacker/pass rusher, a tight end, or a big wide receiver.

Ware is a runner, and right now one pledged to USC. It would be nice to steal from the same school that took OSU's eight-month commitment in Ronald Jones II, but the most important thing is to find running backs. Ware has helped Cedar Hill to back-to-back state championships and this season rushed for 2,440 yards and 34 touchdowns.

It is also important to keep an ear out this weekend for how visits go for two of last weekend's Cowboy visitors as the Rockwall, Texas pair of running back Chris Warren and receiver/athlete Xavier Castille are on the move.

Warren is visiting Texas Tech and will visit Washington next weekend. Warren said he thought he would know where he would be going by his Washington visit next weekend. The 6-2, 230-pound punishing runner is also considering Texas.

Castille is visiting SMU, and honestly I think the Mustangs and the new staff of Chad Morris are the favorites to land Castille.

Remember, just as soon as Gundy and his staff dismiss the official visitors from the weekend on Sunday they will be welcoming the juniors for the Junior Day activities later that afternoon.


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