AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas had more than 2,000 rushing yards speed out the door after Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson were selected in the NFL Draft. Now with returning backs ready to shine plus newcomers who could see significant time in the backfield, the competition at running back in fall camp is one of the most intriguing for the Longhorns.
With the pounding running backs take, having a handful of guys trusted to pack the pigskin is essential at any level of football. The Longhorns certainly have that, and as far as senior Keilan Robinson is concerned, everybody is going to get a chance to have the ball this season.
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“The way we see it, everybody is going to eat,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how many bites someone takes, everybody’s going to eat in some kind of way, and the better we are as a unit, the better everybody looks individually.”
Bijan Robinson and Johnson accounted for 87% of the Longhorns’ rushing yards last year, but to reiterate Keilan’s point, that kind of imbalance probably won’t happen this season.
“Those are two great players and that’s why they were drafted into the National Football League, but the offense pretty much looks the same,” he said. “There’s a lot more people touching the ball now, obviously, but everybody’s still making plays.”
Newcomers to the 8-man running back room are two of the most exciting and sought-after ball carriers of the 2023 recruiting class, CJ Baxter and Tre Wisner. Savion Red is a converted wide receiver and showed effectiveness in the team’s spring game, and all three complement the five others at the position.
Jonathan Brooks rushed for 197 yards with five touchdowns last season, and while he’s looking forward to perhaps a bigger role this season, he’s also content with performing the role he needs to in order for the team to win.
“I just want the team to win,” he said. “Whether that’s me getting five carries, 20 carries, it doesn’t matter to me. I want to win and do my role, whether that’s special teams or running the ball, catching the ball, whatever it is.”
Brooks had to sit out spring practices to recover from hernia surgery, and while he wanted to be out there playing, he said the recovery period gave him an opportunity to improve from a mental standpoint.
“It was obviously a little difficult not to be out there practicing and doing what I love,” Brooks said. “But it kind of helped me be more intentional and focused on the details. Knowing what I have, I can sit back and [do] mental reps. It really helped.”
While Brooks said everyone gets along, they’re all hungry to be named the starter when the season begins.
“We’re really close and we’re all working, We’re together,” he said. “We’re not talking behind somebody’s back or anything like that.”