The Texas Longhorns have been without 1,000 yard rusher since Jamaal Charles departed for the NFL draft after the 2007 season. During the 2008 season, the Longhorns leading rusher was their quarterback, Colt McCoy.
Texas' head coach, Mack Brown, clearly stated last spring that Texas would focus on a downhill, power running game, steering away from the Spread offense that was run successfully with Vince Young and McCoy. With juniors Cody Johnson and Foswhitt Whittaker and sophomore Tre' Newton, it seemed possible to make the quick transition.
However, the transition proved to be much more difficult, starting all three running backs in the first three games. Johnson was the only back to surpass the century mark, doing it in consecutive games against Florida Atlantic and Texas A&M. Besides those two games, sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert was Texas' leading rusher three games. Gilbert was also the team's second leading rusher with 380 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Now, here is the answer. Malcolm Brown, the No. 2 overall running back and No. 7 overall prospect. The senior at Byron M. Steele High School in Cibolo, TX, stands six feet tall and 220 pounds. Brown is a bruising downhill runner, but also has one of the best size to speed ratios in his class. He is the kind of runner that can run the play clock down and wear out defenses in the second half.
Brown explodes after contact and busts through arm tackles with ease. Once his offense gets to the redzone, you can almost guarantee six points. Brown rushed for 24 touchdowns during his senior season and averaged an incredible 11.13 yards per game. 100 yards marked the lowest amount of yards he gained this season, which came on just three carries.
If Mack Brown wanted to continue developing the power running game, he has found the back that can carry the load 25 times a game successfully. Malcolm Brown can also help take the pressure off of Gilbert, who threw 17 interceptions and completed just 59 percent of his passes.
After a dismal 5-7 season, their first losing season since Mack Brown's arrival, the Longhorns have hope for 2011. They may have found the running back they have been missing since Cedric Benson donned the burnt orange.