AUSTIN (KXAN) – Expectations were high for Texas football heading into the 2023 season because they returned so much talent. One of the few position groups that came a question mark was running back since Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson left to the NFL.

Freshman CJ Baxter started the opening game of the season and while he has impressed, he’s battled injuries. However, a patient redshirt sophomore has stepped up and dominated the run game.

“He sat behind two guys and really paid attention and listened and learned,” said Steve Sarkisian about Jonathon Brooks. “His style of play has grown as the season has gone on.”

In his last four games, Brooks has rushed for over 100 yards in each of them with five touchdowns. He’s second in the country in rushing yards with 726.

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“He’s a physical runner,” Sarkisian said. “We know we can count on him at the most difficult moments and that he’s going to come through.”

Brooks committed to Texas before Sarkisian took over. The potential in the Hallettsville product was clear from the start.

“They were really, really excited about him and thought we got one with this kid,” said Sarkisian about the coaches that were at Texas before he arrived. “The natural running instincts he had were always there.”

In an age where transferring out a program is extremely common when there isn’t immediate playing time, Brooks stayed the course. Sarkisian knows how valuable that is to a locker room.

“Not only schematically, but I think from a mentality standpoint about perseverance and toughness, he’s going to play a big part for us in the next six ball games,” Sarkisian said.