Jeff Carr says he came in looking like a little wide receiver. He has put on 25-30 pounds of muscle at Oklahoma State and is hoping this spring will give him a solid position on the running back depth chart.
As spring football continues for Oklahoma State one position that is actually doing pretty well with the flagship player at the position sitting this spring out after shoulder surgery is running back. Last season's freshman sensation and a USA Today Freshman All-American in Tulsa Booker T. Washington standout Justice Hill had off season shoulder surgery to repair an injury and strengthen the shoulder from an injury that happened when he was in high school. Head coach Mike Gundy and the staff is encouraged that Hill, who fought through the effects of the injury last season, will be stronger and feel better following the surgery. Running back is a position that requires two at minimum and often, three players sharing the load through the course of the season. That gives junior to be Jeff Carr and red-shirt freshmen L.D. Brown and Ja'Ron Wilson and walk-on Jakeem Johnson competing to have the head start on incoming freshmen Chuba Hubbard and J.D. King in earning positions on the running back depth chart.
Carr has the most experience behind Hill at a position that saw three seniors depart off last season's team in Chris Carson, Barry J. Sanders, and Rennie Childs. Carr had 36 carries as a freshman for 142-yards and then just 12 carries last season for 85-yards. He also has 12 career receptions for 28-yards. The thing he has done more than anything in his career has been kick-off returns. He has 32 in his career for a 21-yard average and his longest is 53-yards.
More than anything Carr is vastly different looking now. He checked in as a freshman at 5-7, 165 pounds and now is 5-7 and 190 pounds. Head coach Mike Gundy has always likes him, but likes that thicker, more muscular and physical frame.
"I'm a little bit more physical when I'm running the ball now," Carr said. "I'm more physical when I starting running down hill and even when I don't get the ball."
This spring the Temple High School product has been holding down the first team reps at running back, but L.D. Brown has also impressed as he has shown some wiggle and escapability to go along with speed. Carr and Brown have similar attributes, meaning the competition is intense and close. It means this spring is pretty important for both, Carr can feel it.
"I think it's real critical with it being my junior year," Carr said. "I obviously want to earn more playing time and I'm going to come out here and give it all I got just like last year."
Knowing Hill will be back means the position will be different in the fall with him involved, but it doesn't mean that answers aren't going to come out of this spring.