Brown Names 'Lead Candidate' For Tailback Job

HOUSTON -- Junior Selvin Young is the projected "lead candidate" to replace Cedric Benson as Texas' featured RB this fall, head coach Mack Brown said Thursday.

Sophomore Ramonce Taylor topped the RB chart throughout spring training as Young took care of academic issues and nursed an ankle injury suffered last September at Arkansas. Now, a beefed-up Young appears to be the front-runner

"(Young) is really motivated," Brown said during the annual Big 12 Media Days in Houston. "He was giving Cedric a run for his money for playing time two years ago before he got hurt. So you would have to think he would be the lead candidate."

Selvin's season came to an abrupt end on Sept. 11 in Fayetteville when he broke his ankle during Texas' 22-20 win over Arkansas. He was also slowed by a September groin injury during his sophomore campaign. Over this past year, Selvin has added more than 10 pounds of lean muscle, tipping the scales at 220, and weighing in as the type of power-back that Brown typically likes to feature in his offense.

"I am really pulling for him to stay healthy and have a great year," Brown said.

Taylor has been clocked at under 4.3 and is the fastest player Brown has ever coached. He rushed for 283 yards on just 27 carries (that's a 10.5 ypc average, folks) and one TD. The prediction here (since early February) is that Taylor would emerge as an all-purpose back (a la USC's Reggie Bush) in a more wide-open offense this fall. In fact, Taylor joins Bush and teammate Vince Young as the only D-I players to register a rush, a pass and a reception of more than 40 yards last season.

Still, look for a Young & Young backfield in Texas' Sept. 3 home opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. QB Vince Young said Selvin has been a man on a mission during voluntary summer workouts.

"Selvin's doing real good and he's working real hard," Vince said. "He's training everywhere just to try to get himself better. He's been working so hard that he needs to sit down a little bit because he's going to carry the ball at least 30 times a game. He's been looking really good. He's been planting on his ankle really good. His speed is back up to par. What I like is that his weight is up. He's big right now. I think he's a little bit bigger than Cedric. He's still got the speed, man. He's outrunning some of our DBs, and our DBs are real fast. He's out there making moves on those guys."

Brown signed a stable of highly touted RBs in February, including Parade All-American Jamaal Charles. The two-time Texas 5A all-state pick has participated in voluntary summer drills at Denius Field. Charles (6-1, 190) rushed for 4,107 yards and 50 touchdowns during his last two seasons at Port Arthur Memorial.

"The fact that some of these (freshmen) have been around this summer and some have been in school, and they have been able to work out with the team, it really gives guys a chance to play earlier than ever before," Brown said. "Jamaal had the fastest time in the hurdles in the country (last spring). He was a tremendous running back last year, and with our running back situation, he will definitely be a guy that will get a good look to start the fall. But we are not planning on redshirting anybody at this time. [Note: Brown usually makes that decision in mid-October.] We will play everybody that has a chance to be in the two-deep and help us win."

Grapevine RB Henry Melton will get a look at RB, even though Brown said on Signing Day that the 6-3, 270-pounder would serve the team better if he played FB.

"We promised Henry he could be a tailback," Brown said, "so he's going to start out at tailback and he's going to stay there until he proves to us that he's not that guy. He asked us to do that. But his uncle Ray Crockett, who played so well in the NFL, told him that he needed to be a defensive end. But Henry said he wanted to be a tailback, so we're going to let him try."

August camp begins for Longhorn players on August 7.

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