Friday, April 9, 2010
Many stars in Texas RB class
By Gerry Hamilton ESPN Recruiting
To put it mildly, the Lone Star State is loaded at running back. With about 20 prospects who will sign with FBS programs in February 2011, college recruiters have flocked to the state in search of difference-making backs. Baylor, which snagged Brandon Williams (Brookshire, Texas/Royal), and Texas Tech, which got a verbal from Kenny Williams (Pflugerville, Texas), are among the programs that have secured commits from a talented batch of Lone Star State runners. Here is a look at the top backs in the state:
No shocker here: Texas and Oklahoma seem to be the front-runner for Malcolm Brown's services.
Malcolm Brown (Cibolo, Texas/Steele): There's plenty of debate about who the state's top runner is, but there is no denying that Brown is very much in the conversation. He runs with power, balance and vision. He also has the ability to finish his runs with a strong hit. With a decision likely during or shortly after Cibolo Steele spring practice, it appears Texas has the edge on Oklahoma. TCU and Alabama have also been mentioned in the top four.
Among the many offers for Brown are Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, TCU, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, LSU, Georgia, Stanford, Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas State, Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas and Arizona.
Brandon Williams (Brookshire, Texas/Royal): The Baylor Bears secured a pledge in February from one of the top running backs in the state -- and the country. The 6-foot-1, 196-pounder has clocked a 21.1-second 200-meter sprint. He is one of the most electric backs in the class and has a quickly developing frame. Since committing to Baylor, he has made unofficial visits to Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M, but he remains a solid commit to the Bears.
He has offers from Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Houston, Kentucky, Arkansas, Purdue and Tulsa.
Aaron Green (San Antonio/Madison): This electric, darting runner is the brother of current Nebraska corner Andrew Green, and many believe the Cornhuskers have emerged as the team to beat. USC and Texas are also mentioned prominently. Green joins Williams among the most explosive playmakers from the running back position in the state.
Green has offers from Nebraska, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Alabama, California, Colorado, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Auburn, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, LSU and Missouri among many others.
Kenny Williams (Pflugerville, Texas): Williams committed to Texas Tech on March 27. This was a huge commitment for Red Raiders coach Tommy Tuberville as he begins the process of building his program. The 5-10, 206-pound back with a powerful lower body has the look and talent of past runners recruited by Tuberville at Auburn and Ole Miss.
Williams picked the Red Raiders over offers from Louisville, West Virginia, Illinois, Kansas State and others. He totaled more than 1,700 rushing yards as a junior.
Herschel Sims (Abilene, Texas/Abilene High): The 5-8, 185-pound Sims appears to be a top target for Oklahoma State as well as a marked man for a number of other regional programs. Sims has a combination of quickness, lower-body strength, vision and advanced skills out of the backfield that makes him one of the most versatile backs in the class.
Sims has more than 10 offers including Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas and Arkansas with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, USC and Texas Tech making up the top five. He will visit Texas Tech on April 17.
Daniel Lasco (The Woodlands, Texas): Lasco may be the fastest straight-line back in the state with a burst that he has shown since his freshman year in the playoffs against Spring Westfield. Lasco is at his best when making one cut and accelerating vertically. Four programs appear to have distanced themselves from the others. Miami, TCU, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State are reportedly the front-runners. He has been on a pair of unofficial visits to Miami and has walked away very impressed each time.
Lasco has offers from Miami, TCU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Texas Tech, Houston, Baylor and Mississippi State among others. He enters his senior season with nearly 3,000 career rushing yards.
Bradley Marquez (Odessa, Texas/Odessa High): The 5-11, 175-pound vertical runner with deceptive quickness has offers from Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Baylor, Minnesota, Arizona and Tulsa. Oklahoma received a junior day unofficial visit and the two-sport star came away very impressed.
Baseball will likely be a factor for the West Texas star as he will have playing options on the college level and quite possibly the professional level.
Danzel Williams (Arlington, Texas/Martin): The Oklahoma Sooners secured a commitment on March 8 from the 5-9, 185-pound prospect. Williams, who doubles as an all-state safety, has an impressive combination of quickness and power. Williams could receive looks in the secondary as well as running back at the next level.
Williams has offers from TCU, Minnesota, Kansas State and Kansas in addition to Oklahoma.
Darren Ervin (Houston/Lamar): The 5-9, 198-pound runner committed to California in March. He has flown under the recruiting radar for the most part, but Ervin is one of several talented prospects in the 2011 class at the Houston I.S.D. school. He rushed for 730 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior.
Jermichael Selders (Houston, Texas/Cyprus Creek): Selders is an intriguing prospect. He doesn't possess the fluidity of some others in the class, but he flashes a quick jump-cut and skip-cut in making defenders miss in the hole. Throw in 4.45 straight-line speed and soft hands out of the backfield, and it's easy to see why Selders is attracting major interest.
The 5-11, 185-pounder has offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Minnesota, Iowa State, West Virginia and Tulsa. Arkansas was the first to offer and is in a good spot with an unofficial visit on the horizon.
Fred Ford (Kirbyville, Texas): Ford is another small-school back who has been tearing up East Texas on Friday nights. The 6-foot, 195-pounder features an upright running style with the vision and strength to finish runs.
Texas A&M has been on Ford the longest; he has made multiple trips to College Station.
Ford has offers from Texas A&M and Baylor, with Texas Tech a possibility. Missouri and Houston are also showing interest among others. He rushed for more than 2,500 yards and 35 scores in 2009, leading Kirbyville to the 2A state title game.
K.C. Nlemchi (Katy, Texas/Cinco Ranch): The 6-1, 215-pound chiseled runner has offers from Arkansas, SMU, Tulsa and Utah. Nlemchi will make an unofficial visit to SMU on April 9. He amassed more than 2,700 all-purpose yards as a junior in helping lead Cinco Ranch on its deepest playoff run in school history.
David Cobb (Killeen, Texas/Ellison): Cobb is the brother of Texas Tech redshirt freshman outside linebacker Daniel Cobb. The hard-nosed runner has an offer from Stanford and will visit the Cardinal this coming weekend. Texas Tech, Baylor and others are showing interest. Cobb rushed for more than 1,200 yards this past season.
Jerrell Oliver comes from a family of running backs.
Jarrell Oliver (Sugar Land, Texas/Dulles): At 5-9, 193 pounds, Oliver eats up ground with vision, quick feet and burst to the second level. His standout season in a very demanding 5A district has resulted in offers from Michigan, Oregon State and Tulsa, along with interest from TCU, Texas A&M, Houston, Utah and Texas Tech among others.
Oliver is the latest in a family loaded with talented running backs. His father, Jarrod Oliver, played at Oklahoma in the mid-1980s, and his uncles, Winslow Oliver and O.C. Oliver, played at New Mexico and Colorado, respectively.
Tevin Williams (Bedford, Texas/Euless Trinity): Williams is one of the fastest backs in the state, with sub-4.5 speed. Utah has offered, with UCLA, Notre Dame and others showing interest. He has an unofficial visit to Utah planned for mid-April.
Doug Gentry (Mexia, Texas): Gentry is one of the sleeper backs in the state despite rushing for more than 1,800 yards in back-to-back seasons. He is receiving interest from TCU, SMU and many of the programs in the Big 12.
Anthony Webb (La Porte, Texas): Webb committed to Houston in March. The 5-10, 175-pound Webb rushed for more than 1,300 yards as a junior and enters his senior season with more than 2,000 yards -- despite playing behind Kendrick Perkins, one of the Houston area's best prospects the past two years. He has also doubled at cornerback for the Bulldogs and will likely get good looks on both sides of the ball for the Cougars.
Other top running back prospects include Kenny Farrow (Bedford, Texas/Hurst Bell), Donovonn Young (Katy, Texas), Leroy Dobbins (Montgomery, Texas), Terrance Simon (Palestine, Texas) and Cody Sutton (Texarkana, Texas/Texas High).
Gerry Hamilton has covered recruiting in Texas and the Southwest for more than a decade. He can be reached at email@example.com.