As The (Running Back) World Turns

The best we can tell Oklahoma State's coaching staff is doing its best to scramble to find any high quality running backs out there that might not be totally sold on their current destination. It's really kind of amazing that Oklahoma State is in this situation considering the school is known as "Tailback U."

OSU has produced top running backs in nearly every era of modern day college football ranging from Bob Fenimore to Walt Garrison to Terry Miller to Thurman Thomas to Barry Sanders to Tatum Bell to Keith Toston to Kendall Hunter to Joseph Randle.

Currently, the Cowboys have Hunter and Randle playing in the NFL. There is a good chance after this spring's new veteran combines that Toston will be back in the league.

In the meantime, Oklahoma State is looking to add a running back in this current recruiting class. That back may come from names we have already circulated or it could come from a fresh search of eligible runners that fit head coach Mike Gundy and the Oklahoma State offensive staff's criteria.

We reported that OSU coaches were at Dallas (South Oak Cliff), Texas standout running back Jordan Stevenson's house on Wednesday night and that was incorrect. Actually, the Cowboys coaches, at least offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and running backs coach Jemal Singleton, were in Kansas at Butler Community College visiting Chris Carson.

The 6-1, 210-pound Carson visited Oklahoma State last weekend and I may have been unintentionally negative on the status of Carson's recruitment. He has been committed to Georgia, but some of the traffic on his Twitter account indicated that he felt good about his visit to Oklahoma State. He had told us that while committed to Georgia still, "Oklahoma State gave him some things to think over before a final decision."

Another website reported that Carson said he was 70, maybe 80, percent thinking Georgia. That may have shrunk a little and may be moving toward Oklahoma State a little, although we are not trying to mislead any readers or generate false hopes. A final answer is likely coming on Sunday before the Super Bowl.

As for Jordan Stevenson, the Oklahoma State coaches are in his home tonight, and again we would expect Yurcich, Singleton, and maybe more. It cannot be Gundy as the Cowboys head coach had previously made a school visit to South Oak Cliff, which counts toward his visit allotment in this case.

Stevenson is tough to read as his Twitter account is loaded with retweets of adoring messages from Wisconsin fans where he has been committed since December after earlier being pledged to Texas. However, Stevenson has said he really liked his visit to Oklahoma State. He posted some seven videos from the visit to his Instagram account and after the weekend said he would make a final decision on or before signing day.

There's no more waiting on a decision from Port Arthur (Memorial), Texas standout Corey Dauphine. The 6-0, 185-pound Dauphine is a 200-meter champion in Texas and was in my opinion vastly underrated. He is a very gifted player that has been committed to Texas Tech since Feb. 2, 2014.

This week alone he was offered a scholarship by new Michigna Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh and he hosted some five Oklahoma State coaches in his house. Dauphine confirmed both developments.

"You can report that I am done with recruiting and signing with Texas Tech," Dauphine text to me early this evening.

That is disappointing as Dauphine is a back that really fits the Oklahoma State offense.

There seems to be no activity on the Aca'cedric Ware front as the Cedar Hill, Texas runner that helped the Longhorns to back-to-back state championships seems like he is firm with his commitment to USC.

That leaves Oklahoma State looking at others. A scholarship offer earlier this week to Rawleigh Williams of Dallas (Bishop Lynch), Texas was deemed too late to get the Arkansas commit to reconsider his status.

Possibilities that OSU has shown some interest include Patrick Carr of The Woodlands, Charles West of Coppell, Texas, and a commitment to BYU, and jumbo back Chris Warren of Rockwall.

I don't think Warren is still in the mix but he hasn't said no to Oklahoma State. He is scheduled to visit Washington this weekend, but recently Texas A&M offered. He's already seen visits this week from Texas and tonight Texas Tech.

I'm fairly certain Oklahoma State was in early in the week. Warren has said all along that his decision, while likely know to him this weekend, will be announced on signing day.

Now we also know that Oklahoma State has contacted several running backs outside the Oklahoma-Texas corridor and there may be some possibilities there as well. However, we know that Gundy and his staff are scrutinizing and are not going to take a back just to have one in the class. They are looking only at prospects that meet certain criteria in size, attributes, and potential.

One possibility outside the recruiting process could be another "super senior" transfer in Michigan running back Justice Hayes of Grand Blanc, Mich. In his time at Ann Arbor, he has rushed for 302 yards and a touchdown on 68 carries. He is recognized as an excellent pass protector, the best among the current Michigan running backs and he was the Wolverines primary third-down back this past season.

He was timed coming out of high school at 4.45 in the forty and is currently listed on the Michigan roster at 5-11, 194 pounds. In high school at Grand Blanc he ran 380 times in his prep career for 2,624 yards and 21 touchdowns. He was invited to the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Game.

This week he put this out on his Instagram account.

The four years I have spent at this institution have brought some great memories that I will cherish forever. The fact that I will be graduating from the University of Michigan in April will be meritorious. I have earned team captain on numerous occasions, won respect from coaches and players, and most importantly played my heart out every Saturday. I truly appreciate the offer from Coach Harbaugh to allow me to return for my 5th year, but I have decided that I will choose another college to play football as a graduate student. I'm not an emotional person, but a few days back I cried because I knew it was time for me to move on. There will be people out there that disagree with this tough decision I made, but they won't be the ones that cut me checks in the future. I just want to continue to get closer to God, take care of my family, and be happy.
-Justice Hayes #goblueforever

We checked and Hayes is friends with recent Cowboys star linebacker Josh Furman, who transferred as a "super senior" from Michigan before last season and had a strong year for the Cowboys at the star linebacker this past fall.

Hayes will be the third player to leave the team since Brady Hoke was fired as head coach at Michigan. He joins linebacker Michael Ferns and offensive lineman Kyle Bosch, who both transferred to West Virginia.

That is about all we can gather at this moment but we are always monitoring, always texting, and always keeping our eyes open.


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