With the running back position being thin and banged up on campus, landing a feature back this cycle has been highlighted as a glaring need. D’Onta Foreman was one of the top running backs in the country last year and carried the load to the tune of 2,000 yards, but he is now cashing NFL paychecks just a couple hours away in Houston.
This past cycle, Texas had a chance to land a certified stud in JK Dobbins, but I won’t open old wounds talking about how the LaGrange ball carrier ended up taking his talents to Columbus to be a Buckeye. Upon Tom Herman and his staff arriving in Austin, they were able to land Toneil Carter and Daniel Young, but after getting a peek at Carter this spring and reviewing Young’s film, I didn’t get the warm fuzzies like I did when I watched Dobbins. That’s not a knock on Carter or Young, that’s just how strongly I felt about the type of player Dobbins is.
When I watched Carthage running back Keaontay Ingram shred defenses in the playoffs last year on the way to a state title, then again on tape, I got the warm fuzzies. There was no doubt in my mind that he was RB1 this year in the state of Texas, and he was a must have for Texas.
Tom Herman and his staff put an offer on the table early on and made it clear that he was THE priority at the running back position this cycle. Despite holding offers from blue blood programs across the country, the kid from East Texas that grew up watching the Longhorns made the call and committed to Texas.
Everything about Ingram’s game is smooth. While he doesn’t have great top end speed, he’s elusive, he has great vision, he’s patient, has good feet, is a decisive runner, and to top it all off, he has great hands and can hurt a defense as a receiver out of the back field. All of those traits lead me to the comparison of Arian Foster, another RB north of 6 feet tall with a smooth running style, who didn’t possess great top end speed. Zone blocking schemes were tailor made for backs like Foster and Ingram, and their ability to be reliable targets in the passing game makes them even more valuable. Ingram’s ability to carry heavy loads can be both a gift and a curse of being a feature back, as he has a little more mileage on his tires, but knowing he has the ability to carry an offense the way he has will be a plus, since he likely won’t be asked to have that kind of workload in Austin.
Whenever you land the top back in the state and one of the top backs in the country that possesses the resume that Ingram does, it is very hard to find holes in his game to scrutinize or to find issue with. This is the kind of player that has a chance to be an All-Conference or All-American kind of player if he reaches his potential, and should be viewed as a huge recruiting win for Tom Herman and Stan Drayton with the kind of schools and coaches that were in pursuit of him. On top of Texas getting a stud in Ingram, the bigger picture for the cycle is that this could be the kick-starter for what could be one heck of a summer for the Longhorns on the recruiting trail.