2015 Running Back Recruiting Analysis

The state of Texas is stacked at running back for 2015. Who have the Longhorns offered so far?

In 2014, Texas struggled to find its running backs, and with good reason: there weren't many great ones in-state. Sure, Donald Catalon is arguably a top 25 player in the state. But even there, people differ in opinions, and there aren't really any running backs other than Catalon that HAVE to be mentioned in that top-25.

Compare that to the 2015 class, where there are four players who you can make legitimate top-10 arguments for, and a fifth that might be a top-15 player, and it's easy to see the difference. Not surprisingly, Texas has offered all five of those players. It will be a huge class in terms of restocking the running back talent pond. The Longhorns signed three wonderfully talented backs in the 2011 and 2012 classes, including two running backs ranked in the top two at their position in Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray (the other back was Joe Bergeron). But both Brown and Bergeron will be graduated by the time the 2015 group hits campus, and the 2015 season will be Gray's senior year, provided he doesn't hit it huge and leave early.

Since that 2012 class, Texas has landed just two running backs in 2014 commitments Catalon and D'Onta Foreman, and while both are very good players, neither has the 'wow' factor of a Brown or a Gray.

That's not an issue at the top of 2015. Plano West's Soso Jamabo (6-3 200) is the next top-notch back to come out of the state, a player with the size to develop into a power back and home-run-hitting speed. He currently projects as a top-five player in the state, and many feel that he'll be a Longhorn by the time all is said and done.

Rockwall product Chris Warren (6-2 225) is another intriguing option because of his raw size — his body appears to still be filling out — and his fantastic speed. Warren ran a 4.5 at the Texas camp, not a shock because he blasted out a 4.62 electronic time at the Dallas NFTC camp earlier in the spring. In spread formations, it's often great to have a bigger back who can gash five and six-man boxes, and Warren could be the type of player who fills that role at 235-240 pounds, while still maintaining some big-play ability. Think Terrance Ganaway of Baylor. Warren can catch the ball as well, making him a versatile threat, though many feel he has a long-term NFL future on defense. Texas has offered him as a running back — Warren wants to stay on offense — and plans to keep him there if he signs.

While Texas would likely take both Jamabo and Warren, the No. 3 running back in the class would probably have to be filled by either one scatback or another. After blowing up the June 9 Texas camp, Jay Bradford (5-10 190) of Splendora might be the top option. Bradford ran 4.32 at the camp, then went out and caught the ball exceptionally well, destroying linebackers in one-on-one drills. But Jordan Stevenson (5-10 185) is also in the mix. The Dallas Skyline speedster ripped off a 4.37 electronic 40-yard dash at the Dallas NFTC and is another outstanding option. Both Bradford and Stevenson are probably top-10ish players in the state, though neither is the every-down type of back at this point that Jamabo or Warren could be. That means that Texas will probably take one or the other, but not both, unless their other options fall off.

Another conditional player might be Rodney Anderson of Katy. Like Jamabo, he's a size/speed combination back, somebody who could develop into a 215-220-pound guy at the next level. But Anderson lacks Jamabo's explosiveness and doesn't quite break as many tackles, making him somewhat of a poor man's version. Keep in mind that being a poor man's version of a top-three player in the state isn't a bad thing, and Anderson is probably still a top-15 to top-20 overall player in state for 2015.

Those are the offers that the Longhorns have extended, and Texas sits in a really good spot for a lot of that top talent. Could the Longhorns end up with a three-man class of Jamabo, Warren and Bradford? It's definitely possible, and that's certainly a best-case scenario at this point.


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