Tag:Bryan Harsin
Posted on: March 7, 2011 2:10 pm
 

All about the running backs

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The class of 2012 has several talented running back prospects but there are two from the middle of the country that might receive the lion's share of attention - and for good reason.

Aledo (Texas) running back Johnathan Gray recently narrowed down his list of colleges to Texas, Texas A&M and TCU but it was the Longhorns who were recently given the chance to shine. Gray took an unofficial visit to Austin on Saturday to see Texas go through a spring practice and came away impressed.

“Extremely physical on both sides of the ball. It was great to see everyone fighting for a job,” Gray told VypeDFW. “When you practice like that it makes everyone better.

“I’m glad I had a chance to come down. The offense they’re installing will give them a chance to be physical.”

The MaxPreps 2012 Watch List member rushed for over 3,000 yards and 59 touchdowns as a junior. Texas already landed top running back Malcolm Brown as part of their 2011 class but head coach Mack Brown has put on a full court press (it is March after all) for the speedy running back as of late.

Even Gray's father, former Texas Tech running back James Gray, was impressed on the visit, particularly by the new coaching staff.

“Having a chance to meet the new staff was important because it gave us an idea of which direction they’re going,” the elder Gray said. “Offensively, they’re trying to get back to running the football and that is impressive. Coach Harsin and Coach Applewhite seem to have a good relationship. We also had a chance to meet and talk to returning players. They were excited about the challenge ahead of them.”

A few hundred miles north of Aledo, big name Oklahoma City (Okla.) running back Barry Sanders Jr. is starting to focus on several out-of-state schools with Alabama and Florida State standing out from the pack.

“I went to Alabama’s junior day, enjoyed myself. I haven’t gone to any other schools besides FSU and 'Bama,” Sanders told Noles247.com. “The schools that standout to me are the two that I’ve visited and been on their campus, Florida State and Alabama.

“With both FSU and Alabama, they are both prestigious programs. Alabama is coming off a recent national title win and Florida State has a lot of tradition behind them as well.”

In addition to scholarship offers from the two schools, the 5-foot-10, 190 pound Sanders holds offers from just about every program in the country, including his father's alma matter of Oklahoma State. Not expected to make a decision before the season, Sanders will closely watch what the Crimson Tide and Seminoles do on the field this year before narrowing things down.

“For me, seeing what kind of offense each team runs is just as important as the relationships I have with the coaching staffs," he told the website. "I want to see how Bama looks with the loss of Mark Ingram and Julio Jones. Then with (Christian) Ponder leaving FSU, that will be interesting. It’s something I definitely want to look at with those two teams.”

Expect to hear more from both running backs as the summer camp schedule heats up and they take other unofficial visits.

Posted on: February 19, 2011 4:42 pm
 

Class comparison: Texas vs. Texas A&M

Posted by Bryan Fischer

We're still digesting the class of 2011 and what better way to look at it than through the lens of two rivals. Texas and Texas A&M have been going at each other on the recruiting trail for decades and the regular season each team had in 2010 certainly added a bit of intrigue to each class. Despite the down year for the Longhorns, Mack Brown still managed to bring a lot of talent to Austin for next season.

Texas vs. Texas A&M
Quarterback

Johnny Manziel vs. David Ash. Both schools didn’t pick up a five-star quarterback but both of these QB's could be a factor in the Big 12 before too long. Ash is an accurate, pro-style quarterback who can also buy some time with his legs if needed. That said, Manziel is a little bit more electric and has a higher upside if the Aggie offense can be tailored to his strengths.

Running Back
 

Malcolm Brown vs. Will Randolph. No surprise here as Brown was one of the top running backs in the nation. He should see early playing time and it would shock no one if he became the big time running back that Texas has lacked for several years. Randolph is a nice prospect and should benefit from a redshirt year.

Wide Receiver
 

Miles Onyegbule and Jaxon Shipley vs. Chance Nelson and Mike Evans. Texas grabs a pair of wide outs who could contribute early in new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin’s offense. Shipley is a very good route runner with nice speed and is very similar to his older brother, Jordan, who also donned the Orange and White. Evans is a bit of a project but he’s got tremendous upside with his size.

Offensive Line
 

Josh Cochran, Taylor Doyle, Sedrick Flowers, Garrett Greenlea and Marcus Hutchins vs. Joseph Cheek, Ben Compton, Nathan Gutekunst, and Shayvion Hatten. A very good class in the trenches could have been even better had Texas been able to hang on to Christian Westerman’s commitment. Greenlea and Flowers in particular were two of the top linemen in the country and should be able to compete to be on the two-deep as freshmen. The Aggies have had several freshmen offensive linemen play regularly from the past two classes but they might not have one in this one.

Defensive Line
 

Cedric Reed, Desmond Jackson and Quincy Russell vs. Brandon Alexander and LeMarc Strahan. A&M beat out Texas for the signature of Alexander but at the end of the day, the Longhorns bring in a more talented group. Neither adds a tremendous amount of depth but there’s several contributors among the names mentioned.

Linebacker

 

Donnie Baggs, Steven Jenkins, Tyrell Taylor, Darzil Washington and Shaun Ward vs. Steve Edmond, Chet Moss and Kendall Thompson. At first glance, this matchup clearly favors Texas but digging a little deeper, the Aggies brought in quantity and quality. Edmond and Moss are two of the best linebackers in Texas but the Aggies fill their need for linebackers with a few that can compete right away. Grabbing Ward out of Florida was particularly impressive.

Secondary

Quandre Diggs, Sheroid Evans, Leroy Scott, Josh Turner and Mykkele Thompson vs. Devonta Burns, Deshazor Everett, Johntel Franklin, Howard Matthews and Floyd Raven. If this were about drama, the Aggies would win in a landslide after signing Raven. Talent-wise though, Diggs and Evans should be able to contribute early in nickel packages and the rest of the group can develop into solid players. Considering the revolving door at defensive backs coach, Mack Brown did a great job grabbing this secondary class, just slightly edging A&M.

Special Teams
 

Texas didn’t sign any kickers though much of their freshman class could see time on special teams. Mike Sherman grabbed the top kicker in the country in Taylor Bertolet and Drew Kaser is a strong-legged kid out of Ohio.

Overall
 

It’s no surprise to see Texas win the recruiting matchup against their rival as the Longhorns have always had a class in the top 10 in the country the past decade or so. Given the results of the season however, grabbing the crown in February doesn’t necessarily translate into winning the big game on Thanksgiving. While A&M didn’t bring in the most talented class, they did address needs and there are several players who will have to play right away. All in all, just another year deep in the heart of Texas.

 
 
 
 
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