In recent years Lone Star ball carriers like Jamaal Charles, Michael Goodson and two loaded running back classes in 2008 and 2009 have shown that despite the growing popularity of the spread offense, Texas has not stopped producing top flight backs.
The next big name on that storied list could very well be San Antonio Madison's Aaron Green, a prospect for the Class of 2011.
Entering the 2008 season with a lot of promise and earning Preseason Offensive Sophomore of the Year honors in the greater San Antonio area from TexasPrepInisder.com, Green quickly established himself as not only arguably the top back in San Antonio, but one of the top sophomore prospects in the state.
Following a varisty debut in which he rushed for three touchdowns and more than 100 yards, Green exploded for 428 yards and a San Antonio city record nine touchdowns in Week 1 against Kerrville Tivy.
On Thursday Green helped the Mavericks win a tough District 26-5A opener on the road against a New Braunfels team that had not lost a regular season game in nearly two years and showed flashes of being a top national prospect by the time his senior season rolls around.
STRENGTHS: Being a sophomore and performing at the level, it is obvious that he has talent, but there are several things he does very well that make him look like a seasoned vet.
He has a really good burst when getting past the line for scrimmage and does a really good job of changing speeds as he needs to shift gears. He also has great change of direction skills and on one play in particular reversed the field when he seemed to be hemmed in near the sideline and cut back against the grain and picked up a first down.
He really defines the term of being "wow factor" back as whenever he gets the ball, both sides of the stadium are just waiting for him to bust a big run. He also showed that he can be an excellent decoy as he made the game clinching play by throwing a halfback pass for a touchdown that caught the New Braunfels defense completely off guard.
Green also shows great quickness and is really great at making defenders miss once he is in the clear. He is a different type of runner than former Madison standout Devin Thomas, who holds the San Antonio city record for rushing yards in a game with 487. When comparing them to pro runners, Thomas is more like Terrell Davis in the sense that he will take one cut and get downhill as fast as he can. Green is much more of the Reggie Bush or Barry Sanders type that can juke his way through defenders.
One thing he does not do that a lot backs with his running style will do is dance around and wait for things to happen and force the action.
He also does a really good job of using the stiff arm move and using his hands and arms to get away from defenders.
The best thing of all to like about Green is that he is only a 15-year-old sophomore and will only get better as he matures.
WEAKNESSES: One thing that Green really struggled with was not being able to bust the big run. He was also kept out of the end zone by what will likely be the best defense he sees all season.
These two things led him to become visibly frustrated at times. He will eventually learn that putting his head down and getting four or five yards is not a bad thing, which is something that most great running backs know.
He also had a tendency to bounce plays to the outside looking for the home run. Sometimes this was out of necessity as New Braunfels' linebackers were very active. Other times however it seemed as though he was simply looking to get himself free on the corner.
Again, as time goes he will learn that best is not to try and make something out of nothing and that four and five yard gains are good for the offense.
OVERALL ASSESSMENT: Green had a quiet 125 yards on 27 carries, which most coaches will take from their back at that level against that caliber of defense any day of the week.
The Class of 2009 has still yet to sign their L.O.I.'s and the 2010 class features Lache Seastrunk, who might be the top prospect in nation at this time next season, so there is still quite a bit of time before Green has to worry about recruiting.
All of that said, I think Green has a big time future ahead of him and should continue to put up big numbers this season. He will definatley be a prospect that will be fun to monitor his development over the next few years.