The Oklahoma Sooners picked up a substantial verbal commitment this past weekend in the form of talented Delray Beach (FL) four star RB Greg Bryant. The Sooners had previously received a verbal commitment from one of the top running backs in the state of Texas (Keith Ford) thus giving OU an early lead for the top RB class in 2013. It is a tad unusual that two top backs would both commit to the same school this early in the recruiting process, but both obviously felt Oklahoma was the place for them and decided to get all the drama out of the way early.
However, with two backs not expected in this 2013 class I started to think about Oklahoma's running back situation next season (when these 2013 verbal commitments will eventually arrive in Norman). I'm apparently someone who has way too much time on their hands because I started to rattle off the players names one after the other until I reached the somewhat shocking tally.
Now, to be fair, 2013 is obviously a long ways off and while we certainly hope you certainly cannot guarantee that the commitments of both Bryant and Ford stick. But for the purposes of this little exercise, we'll go against every fiber of my being (inside joke) and play the role of optimistic OU fan.
So, barring an early departure, the Sooners project to have as many as nine guys at the running back position looking for carries. Nine guys!
Let's run through them real quick: (1) Brennan Clay, (2) Roy Finch, and (3) Damien Williams will all be entering their senior seasons. (4) Danzel Williams will be a fourth year sophomore. 2012 signees (5) Alex Ross, (6) David Smith, and (7) Daniel Brooks will all be entering their second year. Then you obviously add (8) Keith Ford and (9) Greg Bryant.
There are no less than five players from that list that I'm extremely high on (Damien Williams, Finch - if they'd ever find a role for him in this offense -, Ross, Ford, & Bryant) and several others possess more than their fair share of potential.
Now amazingly enough, there is actually a precedent for this at Oklahoma and it took place just last year. The Sooners were presumable "loaded" at running back prior to last season with a depth chart pushing legitimately five deep. And that was before Dominique Whaley burst onto the scene. Then the season starts, injuries occur, players get impatient and transfer before said injuries occur thus blowing a prime opportunity to step in and carries. You know how it all played out in the end with Jermie Calhoun and Jonathan Miller both leaving, Whaley going down, and OU having to scramble at times for a reliable ball carrier late in the year.
So looking at the ridiculous log jam they could be facing at running back in 2013, one can't help but wonder if they're setting themselves up for another situation similar to what we saw last season. Players want to play, it's pretty simple. With potentially nine guys and just one ball to go around, you'd have to think the odds of at least one guy or two growing a little restless are fairly high.
Can you have too many quality players at one position? As they say, it's a "good" problem to have but OU fans have been down this road before and it didn't really turn out all that well. I sincerely doubt I'm alone in hoping we see a different result this time down the ol' rabbit hole.