Under the radar: Texas Longhorns

June, 21, 2012
6/21/12
10:30
PM CT
Time for the next team in our series examining one player on each Big 12 team who will enter 2012 with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar. Click here for more players under the radar.

Next up: the Texas Longhorns.

Under the radar: RB Joe Bergeron

Texas' identity is clear heading into 2012. They're going to play absolutely stingy defense, and run the ball until you prove you can stop it. Will Big 12 defenses be able to stop it in 2012?

Texas had only moderate success running the ball in 2011, but an older offensive line, an older backfield and a better quarterback to relieve some pressure may make life harder on those trying to defend Texas this fall.

In that backfield, though, the Longhorns have a pair of headline-makers. Malcolm Brown was the nation's No. 2 running back in the 2011 class before leading Texas in rushing as a true freshman. The nation's No. 1 running back in the 2012 class, Johnathan Gray, arrived on campus this summer and coach Mack Brown already made it clear that he didn't sign with Texas to redshirt. He's going to play.

Those two soak up all the attention, but Joe Bergeron very well may be better than both of them this season. Even if he's not, he's still solid, and maybe the most underrated running back in the entire Big 12. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound running back rumbles with an absolute mean streak, and is a bit more explosive than Brown. What will Gray bring to the table? We'll find out. For now, Bergeron's shown his worth, running for 463 yards and five touchdowns on just 72 carries. That's an average of 6.43 yards a touch. Only two running backs in the Big 12 were better last year: Oklahoma State's Jeremy Smith and Mizzou's Henry Josey.

Those five scores were ninth-most by a freshman in school history, and three came in a romp over Texas Tech, tying a freshman school record. His freshman season was marred by injuries that kept him and Brown both shuffling in and out of the lineup, but Bergeron rolled through Texas Tech for 191 yards on 29 carries, just a week after rushing for 136 yards on just 13 carries against Kansas.

Bergeron doesn't have to carry the load. If he did, though, he'd be able to handle it. Even still, he's way, way under the radar in the Big 12.

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