Recruiting Review And Update: Running Back

The beauty is that Oklahoma State has a commitment from one of the top running back prospects available at running back in Tulsa (Booker T. Washington), Okla. standout Justice Hill and he is a young man that grew up a Cowboys fan. He is the best of a plethora of running back prospects in the state of Oklahoma and a sign that Mike Gundy and his staff can recruit and land the best in the state.

Hill's numbers last season were strong with 219 carries for 1,426 yards and 22 touchdowns. That topped all of the 2016 class of running backs except bowling-ball runner Nic Roller of Bixby and Darran Williams of Edmond Santa Fe.

Then at the Nike combine in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in March he measured at 5-9.5 and 180 pounds and ran an electronic timed 4.51 in the forty. He had a jaw dropping 41.5 inches on the vertical jump.

How did that compare to the other backs in the 2016 class in Oklahoma? Less publicized Jeremy Lewis from Lone Grove measured 6-1, 193 pounds and ran a 4.63 in the forty with a 31.5-inch vertical. Jamall Shaw of Broken Arrow was 5-11.5 and 191.5 pounds with a 4.79 electronic in the forty and a 28.8-inch vertical. The other backs at the Nike Opening Regional Combine did not finish the testing and included Dae Williams of Sapulpa and Darran Williams of Santa Fe.

Now that isn't everything but that laser timer doesn't lie and can't be cheated, and vertical jump is an excellent way to measure and evaluate explosive energy and power.

The question remains whether Hill will be the only running back in the class and that could be based on variables that won't be known until the Cowboys get down the road in the 2015 season. Besides junior college standouts Todd Mays (who arrived in the spring) and Chris Carson (arriving in June) the Cowboys also signed high school product Jeff Carr out of Temple.

Carr is a skinny prospect that we will see how quickly he takes to the weight room and the training table in the summer and early fall. Carson is a very talented player that would ideally like to play so well this season that he could be a one-and-done player that declares early for the NFL. If he is that good then bless him for it and he can be on his way after big contributions to the 2015 season. There is also finding out how well and how durable Sione Palelei can be this season after redshirting last season with a couple of knee injuries.

The Cowboys have offered Tulsa Union standout Tyler Adkins and have maintained interest in a variety of other running backs including former Altus back and now IMG Academy back and son of former Cowboys defensive end Jermaine Birdow.

Damarea Crockett is a speed and strength freak from Little Rock Christian in Arkansas. Texans Darius Anderson (Richmond George Ranch), Rakeem Boyd (Houston Stratford), and Trevor Speights (McAllen) are all good. There are many others that running backs coach Marcus Arroyo has visited in April and May. Hutchinson C.C. running back Travis Custis is a junior college back that caught the staff's attention.

Watch how the current roster of running backs develop, and from that will come the answer to the question, will Justice Hill be the only running back in the 2016 recruiting class or will he have company?

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