Malcolm Brown arrived at the University of Texas as the nation’s No. 2 running back in the Class of 2011 and Brown mostly lived up to the billing as a freshman. Could he truly explode as a sophomore and bring a Heisman Trophy back to Austin? Brown is tied as the longest shot on Bovada’s college football player props at 75/1.
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Brown played in 10 games last year and started seven in being named the 2011 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. He led the team in rushing with 742 yards and five touchdowns on 172 carries; Brown ranked second among true freshmen in the NCAA and was eighth overall in the Big 12 with 74.2 rushing yards per game. He was the first true freshman to lead Texas in rushing since Cedric Benson in 2001. Brown’s best game against No. 6 Oklahoma State when he rushed for a season-high 135 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. He missed three games due to injuries.
The good news is that Texas will again be a run-heavy team under Mack Brown again this year with questions at QB. In 2011, the Horns ranked 21st in the nation in rushing offense (202.62 ypg) but just 86th in passing at 189.9 ypg. And many believe that Texas will bounce back and be a Big 12 contender after last season’s 8-5 record, so that bodes well for Brown.
However, Brown is going to have to share a lot of a carries. Last year, fellow freshman running backJoe Bergeron also had an impact with 463 yards and five scores in 72 carries. Despite playing in 11 of 13 games, Bergeron only received consistent snaps in two games. During those two games, Bergeron rushed for 327 yards. An injury hampered him the rest of the season. So he will also get the ball. As will Johnathan Gray, the No. 1-rated running back recruit in the Class of 2012 – he’s not going to redshirt and will play right away. Even QB David Ash will get carries. He had 73 while splitting time a year ago.
Texas opens the season Sept. 1 vs. Wyoming.