Texas lands polished, versatile 4-Star RB James Simon

Texas looks to be done with RB recruiting for 2025 with two commitments at the position, including 4-Stars James Simon and Rickey Stewart.
James Simon
James Simon / Stan Carpenter/ The Times / USA TODAY

Tashard Choice and Texas football added their second running back commitment to the 2025 recruiting class on May 29, Shreveport (LA) Calvary Baptist four-star James Simon. The blue-chip running back from Louisiana committed to Texas over his other finalist schools, including the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, LSU Tigers, Texas A&M Aggies, and Alabama Crimson Tide.

Texas football lands 4-Star RB James Simon over LSU and Texas A&M

Simon committed to Texas during an announcement ceremony at the On3 Elite Series in Nashville, TN, on Wednesday afternoon. His commitment brings head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns to double-digit commitments in the 2025 class entering summer official visits.

Choice and the Longhorns made Simon a big-time priority on the recruiting trail in the 2025 class throughout the spring evaluation period. He was identified earlier this offseason as one of Texas's priorities at running back to round out recruiting at this position group for 2025.

Texas's RB coach had fantastic communication and a great relationship established with Simon, furthering the Longhorns' odds that he picked them before summer visits (per 247Sports).

"He just showed the importance of them having me. Just knowing that I'm somebody he wants on the roster, in his room around the guys, and just the potential he sees for me, the potential he sees for me to build this program and be a great guy coming out."

James Simon on Tashard Choice

It was known that Texas was the heavy favorite in this recruitment entering the summer, as the Longhorns were the only official visit Simon had scheduled for the month of June.

Simon joins Tyler (TX) Chapel Hill four-star Rickey Stewart as the two running back commits for Choice and the Longhorns to round out 2025 recruiting at the position.

Texas gets high-floor RB who can contribute early on offense

The 5-foot-11 and 200-pound Louisiana native Simon is a pure running back who has the ideal size and versatility to be a consistent and well-rounded contributor in Sarkisian's offense. He has the size and speed required to be an effective runner in zone and gap blocking schemes.

Simon's vision and burst after the first cut allows him to see running lanes opening up from his line and hit the hole to pick up sizable gains on the ground. He's also got the agility and initial acceleration required to be a solid fit with zone blocking schemes.

On film, Simon shows the ability to wait for the hole to open up on draw plays. His jump cut and elusiveness in tight windows make box defenders miss in a phone booth closer to the line of scrimmage.

Simon also runs with good power and pad-level. He knows how to plow through opposing defenders to pick up those valuable extra yards and to finish runs emphatically in the short areas of the field and in short-yardage situations.

As a receiver out of the backfield, Simon gives the Longhorns a quality option to target on passing plays in the flats and on screen plays out in space. He's got good hands and is increasingly developing a good route tree for a running back.

Areas of improvement

There isn't much film out there regarding Simon's proven ability as a pass blocker picking up blitzes in the backfield. But he does have the size, strength, and functional movement skills required to be a capable pass-blocking running back at the collegiate level, so he should be fine in that regard.

Simon's top-end speed is limited as a home-run hitter. He's more of an effective every-down back who knows how to get multiple levels deep for quality gains of between five and 15 yards against opposing defenses instead of hitting those big 40+ yard home run shots for touchdowns.

Projection and fit at Texas

Choice got the Longhorns two quality backs with varied skill sets who should be able to contribute immediately at the collegiate level: Stewart and Simon. Stewart is more of that explosive big-play hitter with tremendous top-out speed and quickness.

Simon, meanwhile, gives the Longhorns more power and versatility to wear opponents down with running the ball between the tackles and getting quality gains on passing plays out of the backfield.

It's become customary at this point for Choice to get these two back classes each cycle, given how rosters can turnover so fast in the modern day and age of NIL and the transfer portal in college football.

Because of Texas's depth at the running back position currently, it will be tough for Stewart or Simon to see the field often in their first years in college in 2025. I could see Simon pushing for reps as a second or third back in Texas's RB rotation by his sophomore season since he is a mature prospect with good size and utility at the position.

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