The state of Texas is well-known for producing some of the best running backs. Names such as Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Cedric Benson are front and center, while Heisman Trophy winning runners of the past include Doak Walker, Earl Campbell and Billy Sims.
The Lone Star State's Class of 2011 running backs will definitely keep that trend alive because five backs made the ESPNU 150 Watch List -- none better than Malcolm Brown (Cibolo, Texas/Byron M. Steele) or Aaron Green (San Antonio/James Madison). Both terrorize defenses in the San Antonio area on a weekly basis, but with differing styles.
"Malcolm is amazing. He's got the size, the ability to run you over and then outrun you after he runs over you. He kind of reminds me of Adrian Peterson. He has a real bright future ahead of him," said Green, who has offers from USC, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Georgia and Notre Dame, among others. "My game is more like a Reggie Bush type. I love to be in space, but I can run between the tackles. I love to make people miss, but I will run over you when I need to. Not like Malcolm, though."
Green comes from a family full of Southwest Conference and Big 12 football players. Green's father, Tony Green, played strong safety at Baylor, and his older brother, Andrew Green, is a true freshman corner at Nebraska. His uncle, Gary Green, also played cornerback at Baylor, and his cousin, Gary Green Jr., played running back at Kansas.
Brown's high school is a relatively new program, but one that is already gaining recognition, due in part to his prominence.
"[Brown is] really Tim Tebow-ish, if you know what I mean. He's a very humble, religious young man that gives praise to God first and foremost above all. That's rare, especially in our society today. He's a leader in our community and he speaks to various church groups," said Steele head coach Mike Jinks. "As a player, he's tremendous. He's one of those rare kids that is blessed with great size and speed. He is one of those guys that is big, fast and has this little thing called vision that separates him."
Green and Brown are real competitors; they face each other on the field, at summer camps and on the recruiting circuit, but there's no animosity toward each other.
"We talk a lot. You don't really get that too often having two really good running backs in the same city in the same class, so it's kind of weird I guess. We talk all the time, every two or three days," said Green. "We are good friends and I check the newspaper every Saturday to see how he does. We talk about recruiting some, like which coaches have been to our schools."
Best RBs in Texas' 2011 class
Malcolm Brown, ESPNU 150 Watch List member
Brown is your quintessential downhill, bruising back. The 6-foot, 213-pounder has great footwork, impressive lower-body power and lean. He has already become a national recruit with coast-to-coast interest. He will be a ready-made college back, having received terrific coaching at Steele.
Brown has offers from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, TCU and Texas Tech among others, with Texas to be added to the list in February. The Longhorns and Sooners are his top two.
He rushed for more than 1,300 yards in seven games as a sophomore and will eclipse 1,500 yards for the season this week.
Aaron Green, ESPNU 150 Watch List member
Green is the top playmaking back in the state due to his electric combination of darting quickness, lateral movement and make-you-miss moves.
He has double-digit offers from the likes of USC, Nebraska, Georgia, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, among others. Texas is expected to follow suit in February as well. USC is his childhood favorite.
Green eclipsed 2,000 yards as a sophomore and scored 29 touchdowns.
Herschel Sims (Abilene, Texas/Abilene), ESPNU 150 Watch List member
Sims could be the most versatile back in this class. The 5-8, 190-pounder is adept out of the backfield with the ability to catch, make defenders miss, run past defenders or make the tough over-the-shoulder catch look simple.
Sims has offers from Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor. Childhood-favorite Miami and Texas are showing interest as well.
He has more than 1,100 rushing and receiving yards this season.
Bradley Marquez (Odessa, Texas/Odessa), ESPNU 150 Watch List member
Marquez is a talented one-cut, vertical runner who has deceptive inside running ability with cutback vision. He is equally adept out of the backfield.
He is also a talented baseball player who started on the varsity as a freshman.
Marquez is out for the season with an elbow injury that required surgery last week. He has offers from Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
K.C. Nlemchi (Katy, Texas/Cinco Ranch), ESPNU 150 Watch List member
The 6-1, 210-pounder with sculpted muscle has the ability to impress on the hoof. He's not a blazing, make-you-miss back, but rather a grinding back who churns out yardage.
Nlemchi will likely be offered by Texas A&M, but Florida and Texas have also shown interest of late. He should race past the 1,300-yard mark Friday.
Kenneth Farrow (Bedford, Texas/Hurst Bell), ESPNU 150 watch list member
Farrow is a workhorse back with the ability to run, catch and block equally well. The 5-10, 192-pounder is constantly moving his feet, and he possesses the ability to maximize every run.
Farrow will likely receive offers from Oklahoma State, TCU, Arkansas and Baylor in the near future. He has 620 yards this season after rushing for 1,156 yards as a sophomore.
Daniel Lasco (The Woodlands, Texas/Woodlands)
Lasco is the fastest of the backs in a straight line with legit 4.4 speed. The 6-0, 190-pounder can make defenders miss or run through arm tackles. He could also play receiver at the next level.
Lasco, who has topped 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons, has offers from Miami, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Houston, Tennessee and TCU. Oklahoma State and Texas are also showing interest. The Hurricanes and Longhorns are thought to be the top two.
Tevin Williams (Euless, Texas/Trinity)
Williams is the latest FBS-level running back at Euless Trinity. Blessed with quickness, straight-line speed and lateral agility, the 5-10, 175-pounder has the ability to make the big play.
Williams has an early offer from Utah and is receiving interest from the entire Big 12. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore and has more than 700 this season.
Jermichael Selders (Cypress, Texas/Cy Creek)
The 5-11, 175-pound Selders is sleek, wiry and strong with legit 4.45 speed and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He makes defenders miss in the hole with a quick jump cut or impressive skip cut. He can also line up in the slot as a receiver.
Selders has an offer from Arkansas and is garnering interest from Houston, Texas, Baylor and Texas A&M, among others. He has more than 1,000 yards rushing for a second straight season.
Joseph Bergeron (Mesquite, Texas/ North Mesquite)
Bergeron is a jack-of-all-trades prospect who could play running back in the Ace formation, as a true fullback or even as an H-back. He possesses terrific hands and has the ability to catch the tough ball without breaking stride.
Bergeron is receiving interest from the entire Big 12. The Texas Longhorns will likely extend an offer in February. He rushed for 400-plus yards last season and is closing in on 600 yards this year.
Best of the rest
Other running backs in Texas who are receiving serious FBS looks are Leroy Dobbins (Montgomery, Texas/Montgomery), DeAndre Washington (Fort Bend, Texas/Marshall), David Cobb (Killeen, Texas/Ellison), Jarrell Oliver (Sugar Land, Texas/Dulles) and Donovonn Young (Katy, Texas).
Dobbins leads 5A/4A in rushing yardage with 1,906 yards in eight games.
Gerry Hamilton has covered recruiting in Texas and the Southwest for more than a decade. He can be reached at email@example.com.