Whether Texas football is "Running Back U" typically boils down to who is answering the question. Regardless, the high level of production we have seen from the position has created a certain aura around the running back room in Austin.
From Earl's Heisman in 1977 and Ricky's in 1998 to the late Cedric Benson's Doak Walker in 2004. D'Onta Foreman's in 2016 and Bijan Robinson's in 2022, Texas has consistently touted some of the best running backs in the nation.
Texas football RB Jerrick Gibson vastly underrated by On3
When IMG Academy's Jerrick Gibson committed to Coach Sarkisian and the Longhorns in June 2023, Gibson knew that Austin was "where [he] needs to be."
Gibson was seen as one of the top backs in the class of 2024 and graded out as such in the final 2024 rankings from ESPN (No. 2 RB), 247Sports (No. 3 RB), and Rivals (No. 9 RB). However, Gibson finished as the 21st-ranked running back in the final On3 300.
Since his June 24 commitment to Texas, Gibson dropped in every subsequent ranking release from On3. He entered his senior season as the 171st-ranked prospect in the On3 300 and finished No. 285.
Gibson spent most of his high school career as the No.1 running back in the On3 Consensus, so after a senior season where he finished with 95.8 yards per game and nine total touchdowns in nine games, it was surprising to see his ranking fall as low as it did.
That said, once he arrived on campus, recruiting rankings meant nothing. Whether or not Gibson was a consensus five-star or three-star has no bearing on how Coach Sarkisian and the staff will treat him during his time in Austin.
Gibson arrived in Austin in early January and is currently participating in winter workouts as an early enrollee. He already was old for his class, so after an offseason in Torrie Becton's strength and conditioning program, I fully expect Gibson to be able to handle the physicality of the SEC.
During his senior season at IMG, Gibson was listed as 5-foot-10, 215 pounds. For reference, last fall, the TexasSports guide listed Jonathon Brooks at 207 pounds, Jaydon Blue at 191 pounds, and CJ Baxter at 218 pounds.
As of now, the 2024 running back room looks to be a pretty even split between the bruising Baxter and speedster Blue, but do not be surprised if Gibson turns heads over the next six months and finds his way onto the field this fall.
He has a tremendous first step and can hit the hole when it presents itself. He has above-average agility and routinely made defenders miss in a phone booth at the high school level. Given his stature, Gibson should thrive running behind the massive Texas offensive line.
Despite his low ranking from On3, Gibson very well could be the next great Longhorn back under the tutelage of coach Tashard Choice.