As you’ve surely heard time and time again, the Texas Longhorns are still without a starting quarterback. While that is true, what’s not discussed quite as frequently and is also of considerable concern is that Texas is yet to settle on a starting running back, as well.
That may be be due to the reality that Texas’ next starting ball-carrier might not even be on campus yet.
Kyle Porter has done little to prove he’s capable of shouldering the load as the primary running back, and although there were flashes of promise from freshmen Daniel Young and Toneil Carter in 2017, as well as reports that they’ve progressed this offseason, it’s also been noted that neither has done enough to secure the starting job. In fact, the window is open wide enough that incoming All-American freshman Keaontay Ingram is expected to compete for the job upon his arrival.
That same opportunity surely has to appeal to Cal graduate transfer Tre Watson, who is set to choose between Texas, Texas Tech and LSU and any point.
As of now, the Longhorns look to be the team to beat for Watson’s services, and bearing in mind the need and how significant he could prove to be to Texas next season, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Watson, who entered his junior campaign on the Doak Walker Award watch list, missed virtually the entire 2017 season after suffering a low leg injury in the second game of the season. As a sophomore, though, Watson totaled 709 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground and another 241 yards and 4 scores as a receiver. For reference on just how valuable that kind of productivity could be to Texas’ backfield, consider the 2017 season: Porter, Young and Carter combined for just 886 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground and only 227 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
Collectively, it took three Longhorns to compile just 163 more yards from scrimmage than Watson did as a sophomore, and that doesn’t consider Watson’s impact as a kick returner. More notably, Watson’s 1,390 career rushing yards is nearly 300 yards more than Porter, Young and Carter have collectively compiled throughout their careers (1,091), and he’s reached that effort on just 11 more carries.
If the proof is in the productivity, all signs point towards Watson being the man for the job in Austin — that is, of course, if he picks Texas over Texas Tech and LSU, as expected.
Based on the current outlook, ahead of Ingram’s arrival and the potential addition of Watson, Young and Carter appear to be Texas’ top two options at running back. Yes, as reports have indicated, they’ve progressed this offseason, which was to be expected following their debut seasons, but Watson’s versatility and shifty, make-miss ability is something Texas desperately lacks at this point, and the offense has suffered as a result.
Of course, simply adding Watson into the fold wouldn’t fix all of the Longhorns problems on offense, but at the very least, he would provide Texas with its likely 2018 primary ball-carrier and a proven product who can help ease the pressure mounting on an uncertain quarterback room.
That, alone, would make him an invaluable addition to a program in pursuit of progress.