Very Brief Evaluation of Herschel Sims

Recruiting coverage at SoonersIllustrated continues as we bring fans the latest in Oklahoma recruiting news. In a 28-17 win in the Texas State Class 5A Division II title game, Sooner junior running back target Herschel Sims from Abilene High played a big factor in the win. Here is a brief rundown about what he brings to the table.

It was exactly one week ago to the day that the Abilene football made a statement in the Class 5A Division II state title game with a 28-17 win over the back-to-back defending state champions Katy. 

In that win, running back Herschel Sims played a major role in that victory. On the night, Sims had 13 carries for 105 yards and a 60-yard touchdown. After the game during the post game interview, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Sims felt like he played a good game. 

And because of his work in games prior to the state title game, the Katy defense held him in check for a good portion of the first half. During that time, one could see why Sims could arguably be the best back in the Lone Star State. 

Here are a few observations:

--Though Sims is only 180 pounds, the weight is solid as far as his build is concerned. But even more so, Sims shows that it is more than merely cosmetic. He runs with a low-center gravity which makes it difficult to get a clean hit on him.

--With that said, you can forget about taking him down on first contact. There is not arm tackling this young man whatsoever. Defenders will have to break down, wrap up and wait for reinforcements. 

--Sims is a tough runner who can grind the tough yards in between that tackles, but if he decided to bounce out towards the sideline, he is quite effective. Sims on the edge, with his speed will more than likely get the first down yardage plus a little more in many cases.

--The above trait could be credited to how well Sims reads his blocks. While he is more than capable of getting the tough yards, a great attribute of his game is the ability to read the blocks of his offensive linemen and make swift decisions based on what holes his guys have created.

--During the state game, the name ‘Barry Sanders' came up a few times amongst sports journalist on the scene. And while I am not big on comparisons, I see why that is being said. Once the blocks have taken place, Sims makes that hard one cut and explodes through that hole. From that point, he hits the second gear before the defenders have the chance to react. 

--In the open field is when Sims is special. On the 60-yard touchdown run, he was only looking to get the first down, which would have been sufficient for his team to run out the clock on their way to victory. But, with a single block to spring him, Sims raced down the right sideline, showing signs of sub 4.5 40-yard speed. As he went down field, he made about four cuts and reversed the field as defenders, even with good pursuit angles, could not even get a hand on him. 

--And while his running back skills are one of his great attributes, his play as a slot receiver makes him the complete back which will make him more attractive overall. He caught two passes for 26 yards, one of which was a leaping catch near the right sideline on third down to keep the drive alive. He showed signs of soft hands and good routes when split out. So getting the ball to Sims on the screen or in passing routes is effective, especially since Sims is solid in the open field.

--Work ethic. In post game talk with Abilene coach Steve Warren, he stated that Sims, along with teammate and cousin quarterback Ronnell Sims (215 yards and three touchdowns), works harder than everybody on the team. This creates the positive vibes that other team members pick up on.

"Everybody knows how hard he (Herschel Sims) is going to play. It's good when you have a guy who is as talented as Hershel and does not rely on his talent. He comes to work every Monday ready to go and get better," Warren said. "On top of that, he deflects any kind of congratulatory things towards just himself, it goes to the other teammates and offensive line. 

"It's amazing. I've coached a lot of talented players in my years, but he may be at the top of the list because of the intangibles he brings to the table everyday."

In a 16-game undefeated season, Sims had 265 carries for 2,346 yards (8.9 per carry) and 35 touchdowns rushing.

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