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All In On Malcolm Brown

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Ghost of Big Roy has a nice 2010 recruiting breakdown at the RB position over on Burnt Orange Nation worth looking at, at least, if only to confirm the obvious.

Our 2010 RB recruiting effort can now be boiled down to one name: Malcolm Brown.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, as you can see.

My thoughts on Brown, beyond the obvious.

He's split high. Combine that with his power, good balance from a strong core, and his upright running style, and the Adrian Peterson comparisons are natural. He gets his feet off of the ground in traffic, shakes off garbage, and shrugs off the hands, limbs, bodies on the ground that hamper average backs. Good vision. His head is up and he's looking a man past the guy in front of him. He doesn't have the talented high school running back default bad habit of trying to break everything outside. Shortest distance, straight line. He's more nifty laterally than he gets credit for.

In my mind, his best attribute is that he gets up to speed by his third step and runs with balance and abandon. That's responsible for his power, both in the fan-appealing safety-got-ran-over sense, but more importantly, in his ability to shrug off an arm tackle without losing acceleration at the line of scrimmage, the bane of all running backs. Big guys who are slow to accelerate and lack balance are an easy tackle, despite the hype.

From a critical perspective, if any can be offered on a junior running back that runs like that, is that unlike the oft-compared Adrian Peterson, he doesn't have nearly the top end speed. So we're not dealing with a freak designed in a test tube. He's running away from 4A San Antonio players. This is a 4.5 back. A supersized Cedric Benson.

Cibolo Steele also does an extraordinary job of blocking for Brown - the guys in front of him are absolute maulers - so it remains to be seen what the hard yard looks like for him. Zero idea if he can catch. He'll also need to learn to make himself more compact at contact, which he'll acquire easily enough.

The bottom line in projecting a guy like Brown is this: in gaining weight, strength, and size will he retain, increase, or diminish his athleticism?

Go watch early film of Ricky Williams or Ronnie Brown. They actually got more athletic, more nifty, more explosive, faster, as they grew into their bodies. Earl Campbell got more explosive and powerful when Akers put him in the I and made him lose twenty pounds, not less.

Size is a diminishing return. The thing that separates great big backs from average ones isn't more size - 220 vs. 240 - but quickness and dexterity. Once it's lost, they're mediocre. I have no idea how to project it in Brown, but there may be clues in his future senior tape. If you see a leveling off or decline as the guy grows into his body, that's a warning.

If you want to understand my infatuation with Brandon Williams, daring to posit that he may be equal to Malcolm Brown as consensus Best Back In Texas, it's on that basis.

Brandon Williams got faster as he gained 15 pounds moving into track season. Much faster. Verifiably faster, proven with FAT. Even over long sprint distances like 200 meters. Throw in fantastic hands, quickness, and the fact that he's now getting 3 square meals a day, you've got a story to tell.

***

Aaron Green is still a theoretical possibility, I suppose. However, imagine that you consider yourself the best back in the state, as Aaron surely does, Texas has expressed their preference for Brown in a half dozen different ways, subtle and not so, OU just grabbed King of All Upsides Brandon Williams, Nebraska is showing you the most love, and USC is a childhood favorite...

Where's your head at?