Replenishing the Ranks: Running Back

The following is one in a series of evaluations of the Texas Tech 2014 recruiting class in the week leading up to National Signing Day. The Red Raiders have two running backs committed for this class and they are both prolific backs. Can one or both of these recruits thrive in Kliff Kingsbury's pass-happy system?

THE RECRUITS

Justin Stockton (5-10, 175)

School: Cibolo Steele HS
Rating: | National Position Rank: 32


Demarcus Felton (5-9, 185)
School: Spring Dekaney HS
Rating: | National Position Rank: 120


Position Grade: B

Evaluation: Texas Tech is getting a running back who has proven to be a workhorse at the highest level of competition of Texas high school football. A rusher who despite his diminutive frame has proven he can pound the rock between the tackles, yet possesses the speed and elusiveness to rip off a long run on any given play.

You are thinking Justin Stockton right?

While Stockton may prove to be a dependable back, he actually shared carries in a deep backfield at Steele and rarely had to play past halftime for a dominant Steele squad.

Felton, on the other hand, hammered away at defensive fronts for a 2-8 Dekaney team. Felton averaged 22 carries, 198 yards and a touchdown a game.

He has been listed anywhere from 5-foot-7 to 5-9 and 165-190 pounds. If Felton can get up to 190-200 pounds, he can be an effective player for Tech both as a runner between the tackles and in space as he has shown in the prep ranks.

Perhaps even more impressive than his highlights is his durability.

Felton carried the ball 40-plus times in consecutive October games against Klein Collins and Klein. He rushed 85 times for 683 yards and three scores in the two contests, which were just six days apart.

Luckily, Tech is deep at the position which should allow Felton to redshirt, build some strength and develop in the system.

I have talked a lot in the past about how much I like Stockton's game. He is the classic plant the back foot and accelerate back, but what makes him special is his elite speed, and surprising power.

Stockton rushed for 2,162 yards and 36 touchdowns in 2013. He averaged a whopping 11.95 yards per carry at the 5A level en route to first-team all-state honors.

He's also one of several dangerous kick returners in this class and could see the field in that capacity next season.

It's not all roses though.

Both running backs come from ground-and-pound offenses which operate almost exclusively with the quarterback taking snaps under center. In fact, Felton and Stockton combined for just 16 receptions in 2013.

Even when Dekaney did line up in a shotgun formation it was mostly to take advantage of angles in its read option package.

To assume one or both can pick up all the nuances of the "Air Raid" offense and be effective is just that, a big assumption. Tech fans can look at Quinton White, who is arguably the top pure rusher in the program, but barely saw the field last season because he struggled in pass protection, as evidence.

Obviously the coaching staff believes Stockton and Felton will adjust or they would not have offered them scholarships.

Both bring a lot of talent to the table. The question is how long will it be before we see it on the field.

Quotes: "Yes, I'm solid. I'm going to Tech. I'm about to be signing." -Justin Stockton

"Yes, I've been watching the games. I like the way coach (Kliff) Kingsbury runs the offense. I know you have to be well-conditioned because it is a fast, quick-hitter offense. You never know what will happen when the ball is snapped." -Demarcus Felton

Click here to learn more about Felton

Click here to learn more about Stockton

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