Greg Tepper on some of the best uncommitted RB recruits in Texas.
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Just when you thought you caught your breath from the tremendous 2012 football season in Texas, you’d better gear up again: National Signing Day is just about two weeks away.
That’s right: next Wednesday, February 6, will be the day that thousands of players across Texas and the nation sign their National Letter of Intent to play football in college. Up until they put pen to paper, it’s simply a non-binding “verbal commitment” – which means as much as me telling my wife that I’ll definitely unload the dishwasher.
(But no, seriously, honey, I’ll unload the dishwasher.)
There are lots of commitments already from across Texas – you can see all of the verbal commitments for the 12 FBS schools in Texas over on our recruiting section – but with just 15 days to go, there are plenty of players who haven’t yet made the call for one reason or another.
One position I which this is especially prevalent: running back.
The 2013 class is loaded with running back talent, and yet across Texas, there are dozens and dozens of outstanding runners who haven’t yet pledged out to a school. Put another way: there are a bunch of really good running backs still available to schools.
Here are some of the names to remember for so-far-uncommitted running backs across Texas as we continue to careen toward Signing Day.
Katy Cinco Ranch RB Jamel James
This is the biggest fish left. James is a former Notre Dame commit before decommitting from the Irish back in November, and you can tell why teams are after him. He’s a load at 5-11 and 220 pounds, but has exceptional speed and vision that could make him a special back. After rushing for over 1,000 yards in his sophomore and junior years, he suffered a knee injury in the first game of his senior year and missed most of the season. Even after he returned, he never really regained form, but he’s got plenty of time to heal up before the fall. That’s why he’s got plenty of offers, including USC, Florida State and Washington.
Tyler Lee RB Laquintas Wallace
Zoooooooom. That’s what watching Wallace sounds like. The 5-11, 185-pound running back is a pure speed demon, and was the biggest threat for relatively lackluster Tyler Lee teams the last couple of years. When he gets out in space, he’s as dangerous as they come in East Texas, which is why he was at one time drawing interest from the likes of Oklahoma, Texas A&M and TCU. He reportedly has just two offers – Louisiana Tech and Wyoming – but he could be a Signing Day steal for a bigger program.
Little Elm RB Ke’aun Kinner
Here’s what we know for sure about Ke’aun Kinner: the dude is a bull. When you watched Little Elm this year, you knew exactly what they were going to do offensively: turn around and hand the ball to Kinner. A lot. How much? How about 374 times?!? That included a win over Frisco Wakeland in which he carried the ball 57 times, the fourth-most for a single game in Texas high school history. Along the way, the undersized Kinner – he’s only 5-9 and 180 pounds – racked up 2,929 yards and 28 touchdowns. He’s got offers from UTSA, TCU and Louisiana-Monroe, and whoever picks him up shouldn’t have to worry about durability.
Midland Christian RB Christian Whigham
Avid readers of DCTF will remember that Whigham was our Private School Coverboy in the 2012 summer edition, and for a while, things looked pretty darn good for the 5-11, 180-pound kid who captivated us with his story. But in the seventh game of the season, Whigham tore his meniscus and had season-ending knee surgery. His first seven games were outstanding – 114 carries, 835 yards, 17 touchdowns – but he had to watch from the sidelines as the Mustangs roared to a state championship. The injury may have also scared some recruiters off – he reportedly has no offers yet – but when healthy, there’s no denying how dynamic Whigham can be.
San Antonio Brandeis RB Trinton Ynclan
There are plenty of things that I can see scaring off recruiters about Trinton Ynclan. He’s a little undersized – only 5-8 and 175 pounds. He missed the first two games of the season with injury. His name is tough to say (it’s EEN-clin). But here’s what should have recruiters beating down Ynclan’s door: he’s good. Like, really good. He ran for 1,768 yards and 27 touchdowns in sparking the Broncos to a 12-2 finish. That’s more than 8 yards per carry. Oh, and he can return punts and kicks as well. He’s reportedly got interest from a number of big programs in Texas, including Baylor, Houston and Texas, and whoever nabs him will get a gem.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.