It is a good year to need a running back in the midland region.
The state of Texas always has backs to choose from but this year has produced a different breed. Out of 11 five-stars in the national rankings, one of them - Malcolm Brown of Cibollo (Texas) Steele at No. 10 - is a back from Texas. Two more - Aaron Green at No. 21 and Brandon Williams at No. 38 - are already in striking distance of a fifth star. Those backs make up three of the state's top five prospects in Rivals.com's preseason Top 100 in the state of Texas.
The list doesn't stop there.
Add Abilene's Herschel Sims - also a Rivals100 prospect - along with Kenny Williams and Daniel Lasco and six of the state's top 33 prospects come from the running back position. According to Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Barton Simmons, the list is not only talented but it is also diverse.
"It doesn't really matter what kind of back you're looking for this year, you can find it in Texas," Simmons said. "Aaron Green is that shifty, explosive home-run threat. Brandon Williams is a kid with great size and surprising versatility. Kenny Williams is a stocky, physical downhill kid and then you've got Malcolm Brown that can really do it all with the ball in his hands. And that's not even mentioning Herschel Sims who led his team to a state championship. The only problem with all that talent is that everyone else is going after them too."
As is usually the case, the Texas Longhorns are off to an early lead in dominating the in-state talent. Among the state's top ten prospects, Texas already has verbal commitments from four. It also has 11 of the state's top 30 committed - and even more could fall.
Texas is very much in the mix for the state's top two running backs in Aaron Green and Malcolm Brown with several other prospects still being evaluated or courted.
With five of the state's top 33 prospects, Oklahoma is once again maintaining a strong presence in state but perhaps the biggest surprise early on is the job that Texas Tech has done on the recruiting front. Though the Red Raiders don't have a commitment on the list until tight end Jace Amaro at No. 22, they have frequent appearances throughout the rest of the list. They currently have secured commitments from four of the state's top 40 prospects and eight prospects overall in the top 100.
Oklahoma State has established a presence in the state as well. With Sims at running back as the No. 9 prospect in state and quarterback J.W. Walsh in tow at No. 14 as the state's best quarterback prospect, the Cowboys have found the building blocks of their class in the Lone Star State.
Other quarterbacks nipping at Walsh's heels as the top passer in the state are Nebraska commit Jamal Turner at No. 20, Texas Tech commit Michael Brewer at No. 37 and Texas commit David Ash at No. 45.
Though quarterbacks have become a highly-touted position in Texas of late, the emerging position may be tight end. The state boasts a host of big athletic pass-catchers. Amaro leads off the list at No. 22 but he is followed by fellow four-stars Max Stevenson (an Oklahoma commit), Texas commit M.J. McFarland, and former Sooner commit Chris Barnett. All three have found their way into the Rivals250.
Offensive linemen lead the way
Offensive linemen top the list in three of the four preseason rankings released in addition to Texas on Wednesday. Offensive linemen Christian Westerman (Arizona), Trip Thurman (Delaware), Kiaro Holts (Indiana), and quarterback Bubba Starling (Kansas) hold down the preseason top spots in their respective states.
Rivals.com will continue with the preseason state ranking releases on Thursday with California, Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa and Oregon.