But the "Lightning" for the Cowboys will be back in the form of tailback R.J. Stanford (6-0, 175).
"With Shawn gone, I'll probably get most of the load, but we were a pretty nasty combo last year," said Stanford. "The Thunder and Lightning is split in half, but we'll be alright."
There could be a reunion of the duo in the near future, with the UCLA staff intrigued by Stanford, who did nothing to hurt his chances at this past weekend's Skills Camp in Westwood. Stanford ran the fastest 40 time of the day, a 4.5 flat, which is very fast on notoriously slow Spaulding Field, and looked very quick in the drills. (Skills Camap Report)
"It was a fun camp. The competition was really good, and I got to meet the coaches and see the campus. Plus, I got to play ball at a college. I had a real good experience there," said Stanford.
A two-way player, Stanford spent the day working with the running backs and showcased his skills for recruiting coordinator Eric Bieniemy. "Coach Bieniemy is a really funny guy. He made me work hard, and put the pressure on me to see how I would respond. He's a real good coach, and I wouldn't mind him being my coach," said Stanford. Stanford, though, could very well be a great corner prospect, with good size combining with very good speed and quickness.
Stanford said: "I really like UCLA. I want to stay on the West Coach and my mom really likes the UCLA campus and the education. She'd be able to see me play, too, if I stayed out here. If they offered, it would be really cool, but I don't know if I'd commit right away. I want to see all of my offers. But it would really help them."
He has no immediate camp plans, but said he is hoping to go to the Nike Camp in Los Angeles later this month.
Stanford rushed for 1,682 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Cowboys last year while he and Oatis split the carries for Chino. Now with Oatis off to college, Stanford gets the key role, but he'll still get some help from Oatis with recruiting issues. "I know with Shawn I can ask him questions about the process and see what he went through. I know he went through it recently, so he can help me with the process. It would be cool to play with him again, too, because we played well together at Chino," said Stanford.
Academically, Stanford has a summer school math class to make up, but said if it goes like he plans, he should have no trouble being qualified come signing day.