Texas must regroup at the running back position in the 2020 cycle after the Longhorns were left off the top five list of five-star Galena Park North Shore running back Zachary Evans. The nation’s top prospect didn’t include a single in-state school among his finalists, instead naming four SEC programs and Oklahoma. Evans was Texas’ top target at the position and now must shift its focus to other stars in the class. Texas hopes to get two signees at running back.
The top post-Evans prospects:
Jase McClellan, Aledo
FYI: 5-10/201; 5 stars; No. 8 on the 2020 Fabulous 55
Top schools: Committed to Oklahoma
McClellan specifically mentioned Texas as a school he was still entertaining when I stopped by Aledo spring practice in early May. He would be the top-rated running back in the state during most cycles. He’s a tremendous talent who committed to Oklahoma as a junior. He’s a prolific prep back with state championships and 5,200 rushing yards in three years on varsity. McClellan is Aledo’s best back since Johnathan Gray. Texas hopes it can swing him to follow Gray’s same path to Austin.
Dominic Richardson, Oklahoma City Bishop McGuinness
FYI: 6-0/205; 3 stars; No. 46-ranked running back
Top schools: Committed to TCU
Richardson is also committed to a Big 12 rival. The Longhorns clearly think they can make some headway with the TCU commit because they offered less than two weeks after Richardson pledged to the Horned Frogs. Texas stands a chance if Richardson decides to visit Austin this summer. He rushed for 2,135 yards as a sophomore and holds 12 offers. Arkansas was high on Richardson’s list before pledging to TCU on May 6.
Ty Jordan, West Mesquite
FYI: 5-7/183; 3 stars; No. 8-ranked all-purpose back
Top schools: Texas, Arkansas, Oregon
Jordan is a different type of running back than Evans. He isn’t an every-down back. He’s a hybrid prospect who can be a third-down specialist in the backfield, as well as a weapon in the slot or on jet-sweeps. Texas is considered the favorite to land Jordan, who the Longhorns hope becomes the compliment to a bigger, every-down back like McClellan or Richardson. Jordan was a first-team all-district selection as a junior after compiling 1,236 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. He also averaged more than 10 yards per catch on 14 receptions.
EJ Smith, Dallas Jesuit
FYI: 5-11/198; 4 stars; No. 18 on the Fab 55
Top schools: Stanford, Florida, Ohio State
Texas offered Smith on March 26. He’s the son of legendary running back Emmitt Smith, who starred at Florida and then in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys. Stanford, Florida and Ohio State are considered the favorites entering the summer. He’s a player who could move up Texas’ board at the position with Evans seemingly out of play. He’s as dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield as he is running the ball. He’s caught 73 passes over the past two seasons.
Bijan Robinson, Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic
FYI: 6-0/200; 4 stars; No. 5-ranked running back
Top schools: Ohio State, UCLA, Texas
Texas experienced success in Arizona during the 2019 class when the Longhorns landed wide receiver Jake Smith and tight end Brayden Liebrock. Robinson visited Texas for the Orange-White game and is considered one of the five best running backs in the country. He’s a big-bodied player with explosion. He’s rushed for more than 2,000 yards in each of his past two seasons. Getting him back on campus is the key for Texas to stay in the mix. He’s set to take an official visit to Ohio State in June.
Kendall Milton, Clovis (Calif.) Buchanan
FYI: 6-2/220; 5 stars; No. 3-ranked running back
Top schools: LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Texas
Milton is a thundering running back with rare size at the position. He’s a one-cut back with enough speed to outrun defenders to the end zone in space. MIlton is the top-rated running back left on the board with Evans omitting Texas from his finalists and Demarkcus Bowman pledged to Clemson. Texas isn’t a stranger on the recruiting trail in California. Milton could get the full-court press if the Texas staff thinks there’s a chance to sign him.