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2020 Texas Longhorns Position Preview: Running Backs

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Article by Devon Messinger, HornSports Contributor

In 2019, the Longhorns running game was largely inconsistent. Sophomore running back Keaontay Ingram received the majority of the carries, along with freshman, Roschon Johnson, who volunteered to play running back after a slew on injuries to Texas’s backfield. However, with a lack of depth at the position, the Longhorns made the most of what they had.

Following the season, the Longhorns added five-star prospect, Bijan Robinson, from Arizona. Now, the running back position seems to be one of the team’s strengths. Today, we will take a look at Texas’s running back situation heading into the 2020 football season.

2020 Running Back Options:

Keaontay Ingram (Junior)

2019 Stats: 144 carries, 853 rushing yards and 10 total TDs.

Last season, Ingram struggled to to have his presence felt every week. Ingram rushed for over one hundred yards in four games, but was held to under thirty yards in five contests. However, injuries did took their toll. Against eleventh-ranked Utah, Ingram finished the season with a bang as he totaled 134 yards and 2 TDs, leading the Longhorns to an Alamo Bowl victory. Heading into the 2020 season, expect Keaontay to remain as the starting running back. If Texas’s passing game clicks under new offensive coordinator, Mike Yurcich, Keaontay will be in a better position to succeed.


Roschon Johnson (Sophomore)

2019 Stats: 123 carries, 649 rushing yards and 8 total TDs

Talk about taking advantage of an opportunity. First of all, Johnson stepped up when the team needed depth at tailback. Then, Roschon not only found his way into contests, but also injected speed into Texas’s backfield. Now, Johnson is fully committed to being a running back. Prior to this upcoming season, Roschon is in a prime position to make an impact on the field as part of Texas’s running back tandem.


Bijan Robinson (Freshman)

2019 High School Stats: 126 carries, 2,235 rushing yards and 42 total TDs.

Robinson was ranked as the 12th best recruit in the class of 2020 by the 247Sports Composite. One thing is for sure, if Robinson lives up to the hype, the Longhorns will be in great hands. The shifty running back will look to add his name to the end of “Campbell-Williams Field” by the end of his playing career. However, all hype aside, it will be up to Bijan to claw his way into receiving a large portion of the carries at running back. It will be interesting to see how the Longhorns will be able to utilize Bijan early on, especially with the already established duo of Ingram and Johnson.


Daniel Young (Senior)

2019 Stats: 16 carries, 63 rushing yards and 2 total TDs.

With every season that passes, Young has been less and less involved. He tallied 373 rushing yards during his freshman season, however a combination of injuries and competition has helped to change his placement on the depth chart. In 2020, you can expect to see Young be used as an insurance option.



Fans should be excited to see Texas’s arsenal of running backs weapons. The duo of Ingram and Johnson was an exciting one to watch in 2019. However, with the addition of Robinson, the Longhorns backfield could be electrifying. If the Longhorns passing game is able to get in rhythm, the running back tandem will feast. Keep an eye on how the backfield’s workload changes throughout the season as there could be a major shift in playing time down the road.

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I enjoyed your line that said that Bijan would have to claw for carries. I believe the opposite is true. I believe the other running backs will have to to do the clawing. When I was able to watch Bijan last year it didn't take a recruiting genius to see how great he would be in college. My only concern about his first year was  his body. That would be in regards to be able to run inside and if his body would hold up for the year or if he would  need an offseason to build up it up. The news that he weights 222 lbs put those fears to rest and Herman was quoted as saying he looks like he's been in a college football offseason for four years.
My prediction is that Bijan will be the number one back this year sooner rather later because I believe he will be the most talented running back from game one and that includes running and catching the ball out of the backfield The other two backs are talented, however Bijan is on another level.
.Last year Keontay Ingram had eight games where he averaged 7 yards per carry. However, he had four games where he carried 31 times for 65 which is basically 2 yards a game. UT lost 3 out of those 4 games which is not good for your number one running back. Ideally Keontay will be more consistent in the new offense. However, if he gets hurt or doesn't play well then we have a great replacement with Roschon who did play better than Keontay in some games. A year in the offseason program should only make him better.
My only frustration with Bijan  is that ever since he signed with UT, I have been looking forward to September to see him as a longhorn. Right now that is in jeopardy. 

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I will be shocked if he's not.


Don’t be shocked if he quickly maneuvers his way into the status of Texas’ top back.



Freshmen who could quickly emerge as Top 50 players in CFB


Year: True Freshman
As a Recruit: No. 15 in 247Sports Composite (2020) 

Head coach Tom Herman is hyping Texas’ running back depth. And while the Longhorns do return a pair of highly-effective rushers in Keaontay Ingram (5.9 ypc, 853 yards) and Roschon Johnson (5.3 ypc, 649 yards), it’s worth noting Johnson is entering only his second year playing the position and Ingram has already suffered a hamstring injury ahead of fall camp. Robinson, meanwhile, is a potential bell cow.

A ridiculously effective high school ball carrier, Robinson finished his senior season with 2,235 yards and 35 touchdowns while averaging 17.7 yards per carry. Those are video game statistics. The 2020 five-star and No. 1 overall back in the 247Sports Composite arrives with a college-ready frame and big-play potential. Given that the Longhorns have struggled to produce explosive rushing plays under Herman’s direction, ranking 100th (2017), 120th (2018) and 91st (2019) in runs of 20-plus yards, Robinson figures to have an instant role within the offense. Don’t be shocked if he quickly maneuvers his way into the status of Texas’ top back.



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This is a smart guy in predicting that Bijan will be among the national leaders in rushing and he has Bijan weighting only 200 lbs. Now that Bijan is 222 lbs, he may want to change it to where Bijan will win the Heisman.:)
The only part in which I disagree with him is where he says that Bijan is a serviceable pass-catcher with good hands. From the games I saw you can send Bijan down field as pass catcher and he will be effective and a linebacker trying to cover him is a mismatch. If they put a defensive back on him then that will help the wide receivers. I expect by the time Bijan leaves the forty acres he will hold all the receiving records for a running back.



Predicting college football's 10 most impactful freshmen



247Sports Composite ranking: Five star, No. 1 RB

Expert's take from Wiltfong: "I've heard from one source that he already looks like a Heisman Trophy winner from a physical standpoint. Our top-ranked running back had a special senior year and is a special athlete. It’ll be surprising if he’s not among the national leaders in rushing for a true freshman."

247Sports scouting report: Stout, lean frame. Well-proportioned weight. Looks strong at 200 pounds. Terrific vision and patience behind the line of scrimmage. Has burst to hit the second level and reach another gear. Short strides, but effectively changes pace and turns the corner. Elusive in the open field. Threat to score from anywhere on the field. Serviceable pass-catcher with good hands. Runs with loose grip on the football; will need to tighten mechanics and possession. Could improve pass blocking. Potential to contribute immediately in college and garner All-American buzz. Upside as first-round NFL Draft selection.


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