running back

Defensive tackle Malcom Brown is the highlight of Texas’ NFL draft prospects. He might hear his name called in the first round Thursday night, and four other Longhorns could be taken.
Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

While no Longhorns were drafted in the 2014 NFL draft, the one-year drought is likely to end this weekend. 

Texas has five prospects who are projected to hear their names called at the draft, including defensive tackle Malcom Brown, linebacker Jordan Hicks,     cornerback Quandre Diggs, defensive end Cedric Reed and running back Malcolm Brown.

“It feels like just yesterday I was walking on this campus as a young, 220-pound freshman not knowing anything,” Hicks said. “After five years, just to be here and to be going through this process, it’s really rewarding for all of us.” 

Malcom Brown may be the first Longhorn picked after he shot up draft boards while racking up 72 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks last season. His 6-foot-2, 319-pound frame is ideal for the NFL, and he’s the No. 20-ranked prospect, according to NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. 

“Malcom Brown to me is a first-round guy all day long,” Mayock said on “He’s a low-risk investment and a really good football player.” 

While Malcom Brown will find his new home early, Hicks is also a standout prospect. 

Hicks came to Texas as a five-star prospect but battled injuries, causing him to fly under the radar as a pro prospect. He impressed scouts, however, during his senior year and in pre-draft workouts, which was enough for him to earn a fourth-round grade, according to 

While Malcom Brown and Hicks are highly touted prospects, Diggs and Reed will likely find more modest roles in the NFL despite being perennial mainstays in Texas’ defense. 

Diggs is undersized at 5 feet 9 inches and will most likely make his living on special teams, and Reed lacks the athleticism that NFL scouts desire. Both are projected to be picked during the fifth round or later.

The Longhorns’ main offensive prospect is Malcolm Brown, who led Texas in total rushing yards last season but still feels he has a lot to prove at the next level. 

“I feel like I have a lot to show people that I haven’t been able to show these past couple of years due to injuries, and things didn’t go completely my way,” Malcolm Brown said. 

While projects Malcolm Brown to be a late-round pick, several scouts think he has NFL-caliber skills. 

“[Malcolm Brown] possesses the size, toughness and ability to play on all three downs, and that will catch the eyes of teams looking for depth at running back,” NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein said on 

While these Longhorns were longtime contributors for the program, their chapters at Texas will come to a close as they find a new home and a new start this weekend. 

“It’s definitely a different feeling not being a student and not being a current athlete here,” Diggs said. “At the same time, it’s time for a new journey in life.”

Photo Credit: Ellyn Snider | Daily Texan Staff

With National Signing Day officially in the books, head coach Charlie Strong proved his recruiting strengths on one of the country’s biggest stages.

“We were able to meet our needs,” Strong said. “Our guys did a great job of selling this program.”

The Longhorns’ 2015 recruiting class is the best Texas list since 2012 — ranked No. 11 nationally and No. 1 in the Big 12, according to 247Sports. Strong added 28 signed recruits and displayed the ability to recruit both in state and around the nation. He reeled in 10 out-of-state prospects, five of whom come from Florida.

“The state of Texas will always be our ground,” Strong said. “[But] I don’t mind going out of state to win a battle.”

The Longhorns’ most important commitment of the day came from four-star Rockwall running back Chris Warren, who chose Texas over Washington. Warren, who is ranked No. 8 among running backs, gives Texas another option in a backfield that struggled to produce consistent yardage in 2014. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Warren has a unique blend of size and speed, which showed in his senior year when he rushed for over 2,300 yards and 34 touchdowns.

“[Warren] is a big old strong back,” Strong said. “He has enough speed and quickness to get outside.”

While many expected Warren to choose Texas, Strong surprised experts Wednesday, as he flipped two prospects who were previously committed to other schools.

Strong flipped four-star Aledo receiver Ryan Newsome, who originally chose UCLA over Texas on Jan. 23. Newsome is a small but explosive receiver who racked up 21 total touchdowns in his

senior year. His speed is something the Longhorns lacked at the skill positions this past season, and his agility should make him an immediate contender for playing time this fall.

Strong was also successful in converting Beaumont’s three-star safety PJ Locke, who committed to Oregon last July. Although Locke is a little undersized at 5 feet 10 inches, 189 pounds, he showed his playmaking ability with seven interceptions in his senior year. He takes the place of three-star safety Jamile Johnson, who decommitted from the Longhorns on Sunday.

Newsome and Locke were two of nine commits to sign with Texas after originally committing to other schools. 

“You can’t take no for an answer until the paper or fax comes across your desk,” Strong said.

While the Longhorns added three key prospects, the Longhorns missed on some big-name targets. Both five-star targets — Plano West running back Soso Jamabo and Gladewater defensive tackle Daylon Mack — listed Texas as a finalist after visiting the school together on Jan. 23. After the Longhorns seemingly gained momentum with the pair, the two prospects decided to take their talents elsewhere, with Jamabo selecting UCLA and Mack choosing
Texas A&M.

Texas also missed out on Demarkus Lodge, four-star Cedar Hill receiver, and failed to sign potential three-star targets cornerback Deandre Baker and JUCO wide receiver Dominique Reed.

However, Strong added a variety of talent and addressed several areas of need in his first official recruiting class. More importantly, the Longhorns are confident the recent recruiting success will translate to on-field results.

“This whole team will be a lot better than it was last year,” Strong said.

In mid-December, Texas’ recruiting class didn’t look promising. It had solid players, but nobody stood out. 

That was the case until five-star outside linebacker Malik Jefferson and his high school teammate, four-star wide receiver DeAndre McNeal, verbally committed to the Longhorns on Dec. 19.

“Anytime you’re in a recruiting process, there has to be a marquee player,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “And that is Malik Jefferson.”

Since then, Texas has had momentum on its side. Over the past few weeks, the Longhorns saw a slew of big names visiting campus: defensive tackle Daylon Mack, quarterback Kyler Murray, running back Soso Jamabo and wide receiver Damarkus Lodge. Although Texas didn’t land these four guys, their presence on campus created a positive buzz around a program that concluded its most recent campaign with a losing record.

Although signing day has come and gone, the positive buzz still remains. 

While the recruiting class is highly ranked, Strong and the coaching staff will look to use this class as its cornerstone squad.

The coaching staff will expect a lot from this class. A good portion of the recruited players will see early action. Jefferson, Texas’ highest-ranked recruit, will play at the weakside linebacker position next year and might even start, if he has a productive spring. 

Additionally, Texas may turn to its new linebackers — Anthony Wheeler, Cameron Townsend and Cecil Cherry — for help next season.

The Longhorns also added depth to the defensive backs. Texas signed five defensive backs — three corners and two safeties. All five of the signees will have an opportunity to fight for playing time from the very beginning.

Texas will also get help on its offensive and defensive lines. Four-star JUCO offensive lineman Brandon Hodges, four-star lineman Patrick Vahe and three-star lineman Connor Williams are expected to make immediate impacts on the offensive line, and three-star JUCO defensive end Quincy Vasser will see time on the field next season.

The biggest concern for Texas is the quarterback position, and the Longhorns managed to get at least one prospect by flipping four-star quarterback Kai Locksley from Florida State.

Finally, each skill position player could see playing time in 2015. As Texas attempts to open up the offense, expect wide receivers McNeal, John Burt, Ryan Newsome and Gilbert Johnson to showcase their skills. Running back Chris Warren will be the most likely freshman to get plays in 2015, but don’t underestimate the other running backs as change-of-pace backs.

Despite Texas’ awful finish to the 2014 season, the 2015 recruiting class is just the boost Texas needed. The foundation has already been lain, the cornerstone was added Wednesday, and now the Longhorns need to finish building the house in 2015.

Recruiting his first full class, head coach Charlie Strong should be excited. He’s got a top-10 class right now with the potential for it to get even better on National Signing Day with many top recruits in the fold.
Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

With National Signing Day here, Texas head coach Charlie Strong’s first full Texas recruiting class is shaping up to be top notch.

Follow our live blog of National Signing Day here.

247Sports currently ranks Texas’ class No. 9, the highest a Texas class has been ranked since 2012, and the Longhorns have potential to look even better on National Signing Day with several top prospects still in play. If Texas can turn its recent recruiting momentum into a high-yield National Signing Day, the 2015 class will be a signature one for Strong and the Longhorns.

Chris Warren, RB, Rockwall

The Longhorns look to sign the nation’s No. 8 running back — Rockwall’s Chris Warren. The four-star running back scored 34 rushing touchdowns in his senior year and can help improve a Longhorn rushing attack that struggled with consistency in 2014. This weekend, he took an official visit to Washington, posing a major threat for the Longhorn’s prospects — partly because of Warren’s family ties to the state. Warren’s father was a three-time all-star for the Seattle Seahawks.

Announcement: 8:00 a.m. (WatchESPN)

Final list: Texas, Washington

DT Prediction: Texas (Ezra Siegel)

Soso Jamabo, RB, Plano West

Although Warren is likely headed to Austin, the Longhorns are also targeting an even higher-ranked rusher — Soso Jamabo, Plano West’s five-star running back. Ranked as the nation’s No. 2 running back, Jamabo showed a blend of speed and power when he accumulated more than 2200 yards rushing and 44 rushing touchdowns in his senior year. Reports surfaced Monday night that Jamabo told Texas coaches he would be going to UCLA, but he quickly sent out a tweet refuting those claims.

Announcement: 8:15 a.m. (ESPNU)

Final list: Texas, UCLA

DT Prediction: Texas (Evan Berkowitz)

Daylon Mack, DT, Gladewater

Daylon Mack, Gladewater’s five-star defensive tackle, joins Jamabo as Texas’ only remaining five-star targets. After committing to Texas A&M in 2013, Mack re-opened his recruiting in December. While publicly, Mack says he is still deciding between Texas, Texas A&M and TCU, rumors surfaced Tuesday morning that Mack will be heading back to Texas A&M, according to 247Sports. Mack has not confirmed those rumors and is still a target to watch on signing day. It would be a huge gain for Texas if Mack were to commit — and immediately fill the hole that Malcom Brown left.

Announcement: 11:30 a.m. (ESPNU)

Final list: Texas, Texas A&M, TCU

DT Prediction: Texas A&M (Aaron Torres)

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

OU’s Perine breaks NCAA rushing record

Former TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson held the NCAA single-game rushing record for roughly 15 years. Wisconsin junior running back Melvin Gordon, who took it from him, held the record for only a week.

Neither a lightning delay nor the Kansas defense could stop Oklahoma freshman running back Samaje Perine just Saturday, as Perine surpassed Gordon’s mark of 408 rushing yards with 427 yards on the ground in the 44-7 win over Kansas. Perine had five rushing touchdowns as well — all from at least 27 yards out. 

The back-to-back record-setting games for Gordon and Perine come after Tomlinson was the only running back to rush for over 400 yards in college football history.

Rudolph gets the start for Oklahoma State

After junior quarterback Daxx Garman suffered concussion-like symptoms against Texas on Nov. 15, there were a number of questions about whether he would be ready to play or if freshman Mason Rudolph would get his first start at Baylor. That question was answered pretty quickly, as Rudolph trotted out with the offense on the Cowboys’ opening possession against the Bears, and, even though the result was a loss, he had a pretty solid debut. Rudolph finished the night 13-of-25 with 281 passing yards and two touchdowns against the top defense in the conference. His stats were also good enough to be the best first career start for a quarterback in Oklahoma
State history.

Tech defense down on safeties

To say the Texas Tech defense has had it rough this season might be the understatement of the year. First, its defensive coordinator was fired just a few weeks into the season. Then, said defensive coordinator allegedly gave away the defensive signals to Tech’s opponents. And now, the Red Raiders are down to their last two players at safety. Three safeties went down in Texas Tech’s 34-31 win over Iowa State on Saturday and another didn’t make the trip to Ames, Iowa, forcing freshman safety Derrick Dixon and junior defensive back John White into the game — the last two players who could play the position. There’s no word yet on the severity of those three injuries, but Tech’s odds against Baylor this Saturday just got a lot longer.

Minnesota helps out TCU with close win

In the ongoing debate between Baylor and TCU, Horned Frogs fans have pointed to two arguments that make their case: their 14-point win at West Virginia and their slightly better non-conference schedule, thanks to a win at home against Minnesota. On Saturday, that argument got a little better as Minnesota picked up a big 28-24 win over Nebraska to keep the Golden Gophers in the Big Ten West race and added to the Horned Frogs strength of schedule. So far, the selection committee has said Baylor and TCU’s résumés are not equal — making the head-to-head matchup irrelevant — with the assumption that TCU’s win over Minnesota is better than Baylor’s non-conference wins against SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo. Each team will get one more “showcase” game to impress the committee, with TCU playing at Texas on Thanksgiving Day and Baylor facing Kansas State on Dec. 6.

Photo Credit: Sarah Montgomery | Daily Texan Staff

Entering the weekend, the Texas football season had been mostly noted for its missed opportunities. The Longhorns entered their matchup against No. 23 West Virginia 0-4 against top-25 teams, riding a seven-game losing streak against ranked teams.

All of that changed Saturday when the Longhorns played their best half of the season in the game’s first 30 minutes, and the defense held strong in the second half to beat the Mountaineers, 33-16.

The win marks the first time Texas has notched consecutive victories under first-year head coach Charlie Strong.

“It’s a really good win for our program,” Strong said. “We just, week by week, we continue to get better.”

The Longhorns managed to strike first on a 2-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes to senior tight end Geoff Swaim. The Mountaineers responded with a 48-yard kick return and managed to drive the ball inside the Texas 2-yard line.

However, the Longhorns held tough against the wall near the end zone, stuffing the Mountaineers on third-and-goal at the Texas 1-yard line. The Mountaineers came away from the drive with a field goal, but the goal-line stand made a statement.

“I think that kind of set the momentum,” senior linebacker Jordan Hicks said. “The crowd was into it; the defense was able to stop them. We got a few tackles for losses and held them there on the goal line. That’s gigantic.”

The Longhorns gashed the Mountaineers on the ground to the tune of 227 yards, including 101 yards by junior running back Johnathan Gray. Senior running back Malcolm Brown added 90 yards on the ground on 20 carries.

The duo was especially effective during the second quarter, in which the Longhorns scored 17 unanswered points, highlighted by two long runs from Gray.

The first went for 39 yards and a score, while the second run followed a 25-yard run by Brown, in which Gray hit the hole for a 40-yard gain. Gray capped the drive from two yards out to give the Longhorns a 21-3 lead.

“[The] offensive line did a great job opening holes,” Gray said. “They knew what we had to do to get the job done tonight, and they did it.”

On the other side of the ball, senior defensive end Cedric Reed dominated the Mountaineers’ offensive line with three sacks. Reed’s penchant for finding the quarterback was akin to his play last season, marking a bounce-back performance after recording only 1.5 sacks through the first nine games this year.

“Tonight, after I got that first sack, I went up to Coach [Chris] Rumph and told him, ‘Sacks come in bunches, so you better watch out,’” Reed said.

The Mountaineers ended up outgaining the Longhorns by nearly 100 yards but were held to a season-low 16 points and did not get into the end zone until early in the fourth quarter.

Texas won the battles on third and fourth downs, allowing West Virginia to convert only 3-of-17 third-down attempts and 3-of-5 fourth-down attempts.

“We had to win on third down, and we were able to win on third and fourth down,” Strong said.

The win was a step toward bowl eligibility for the Longhorns, who are now 5-5 on the season and need to win at least one of their final two contests. Despite defeating a top-25 opponent at home for the first time since 2008, some players were hesitant to call Saturday a signature win.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Reed said. “It’s just another win — another Big 12 win."

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

After getting shutout against Kansas State last weekend, the Longhorns looked to rebound against in-state rival Texas Tech in Lubbock. Both Texas and the Red Raiders sat at 3-5 overall heading into the matchup, seventh and eighth, respectively, in Big 12 standings.

10:08- Final in Lubbock, Texas deafeats Texas Tech 34-13: The Longhorns are now 4-5 on the season and will host West Virginia next weekend.

10:03- Fourth Quarter 3:20, Texas 34 Texas Tech 13: Red Raiders turn the ball over on downs inside the Texas 10. The Longhorns have scored their most points in Lubbock since scoring 35 in 2006 and are on pace for their longest win streak in the rivalry since 1966. 

9:56- Fourth Quarter 6:12, Texas 34 Texas Tech 13: Red Raiders take over from their own 41 after a punt. Longhorns have rushed for a season-high 232 yards tonight.

9:49- Fourth Quarter 9:30, Texas 34 Texas Tech 13: Senior safety Mykkele Thompson comes away with his first interception of the season.

9:40- Fourth Quarter 11:47, Texas 34 Texas Tech 13: Senior running back Malcolm Brown nearly scores from 10-yards out. He scores on the next play for his second score of the game and has rushed for a season-high 116 yards. It's the first 100-yard rushing performance of the season for the Longhorns.

9:34- Fourth Quarter 13:17, Texas 27 Texas Tech 13: Junior wide receiver Daje Johnson comes up with his longest play of the season on a 30-yard run.

9:28- Fourth Quarter 14:16, Texas 27 Texas Tech 13: Senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley scores his first touchdown of the season on a four-yard grab from sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes.

9:20- End of the Third Quarter, Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Longhorns have the ball on second down and goal from the Tech four. 

9:16- Third Quarter 2:06, Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Senior wide receiver John Harris continues his big night with a 35-yard grab. Junior running back Johnathan Gray follows with 24 yards on two carries. Longhorns are threatening inside Tech's red zone. 

9:09- Third Quarter 4:12- Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is unable to complete a pass to junior wide reciever Marcus Johnson. Longhorns punt. Red Raiders start drive at their own 37.

8:55- Third Quarter 7:41- Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley fumbles the ball after a 14-yard reception. Red Raiders take over on their own 35-yard line. The play is under review.

8:49- Third Quarter 8:54, Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Red Raiders turn the ball over on downs on the Longhorns 37. 

8:40- Third Quarter 12:02, Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Longhorns settle for a 42-yard field goal after driving the ball 40 yards.

8:38- Third Quarter 12:47, Texas 17 Texas Tech 13. Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes runs for 25 yards to bring the ball to the Texas Tech 25. 

8:13- End of the Second Quarter, Texas 17 Texas Tech 13: Longhorns will receive to start the second half.

8:12- Second Quarter 0:17, Texas 17 Texas Tech 13. Longhorns turn the ball over on downs on the Texas Tech 47. 

8:03-Second Quarter 2:59, Texas 17 Texas Tech 13: The Longhorns answer with a two play 85-yard drive led off by a 68-yard reception by senior receiver John Harris who has topped the century mark for the night. Junior running back Johnathan Gray takes it in from 17 yards out to put Texas ahead.

7:58 Second Quarter 3:34, Texas 10 Texas Tech 13: The Red Raiders drive 75 yards on nine plays, scoring on a six yard run by running back Kenny Williams.

7:55 Second Quarter 4:08, Texas 10 Texas Tech 6: Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes will be out the rest of the game. Timeout Texas Tech, which has the ball on third and eight from the Texas 16.

7:49- Second Quarter 7:01, Texas 10 Texas Tech 6: Tech quarterback Vincent Testaverde completes his first attempt of the game for 37 yards. The Red Raiders are driving and now have the ball inside the Texas 30.

7:46- Second Quarter 7:12, Texas 10 Texas Tech 6: Senior running back Malcolm Brown punches it in from three yards out to put the Longhorns back in front. 

7:40- Second Quarter 9:21, Texas 3 Texas Tech 6: Senior cornerback Quandre Diggs lights up Tech freshman quarterback Patrick Mahomes to force a fumble. Junior defensive end Shiro Davis recovers the fumble to put Texas in prime position to score.

7:29- Second Quarter 12:24, Texas 3 Texas Tech 6: Junior placekicker Nick Rose misses a 37-yard field goal wide left, keeping the score 6-3 in favor of the Red Raiders.

7:23- End of First Quarter, Texas 3 Texas Tech 6: Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is sacked for an 11-yard loss to end the first quarter. 

7:21- First Quarter 0:28, Texas 3 Texas Tech 6: The Red Raiders miss a 29-yard field goal attempt to keep the score at 6-3.

7:09- First Quarter 4:09, Texas 3 Texas Tech 6: Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is hit and fumbles the ball, which was recovered in the end zone by Texas Tech for a touchdown. Red Raiders missed the ensuing PAT to keep the score at 6-3 

7:05- First Quarter 4:20, Texas 3 Texas Tech 0: Longhorns force a third straight punt and start their next drive with the ball on their own 15-yard line

6:45- First Quarter 11:31, Texas 3 Texas Tech 0: Junior placekicker Nick Rose hits a 46-yard field goal to give the Longhorns the early lead.

6:36- Texas wins the toss and decides to defer. Red Raiders get the ball to start.

6:30- Texas and Texas Tech about to kickoff. Injury update: Daje Johnson and Kent Perkins both available for Texas tonight. 

Emmitt Smith, Hall of Fame running back of the Dallas Cowboys, once said, “Consistency is one of the hallmarks of my career. You knew what you were going to get out of E-Smith every game, every year, no matter if I was 22, 21, or 35 years old.” 

One of the best RBs in the history of the game knew that consistency was key. You always want someone on your side that you can depend on. No questions about their performance, just that reliability. In fantasy football, we’re looking for the same thing: Consistency. 

Boom/bust guys are infuriating as they get 20 yards one week and 200 yards the next. We want reliable players anchoring our teams, guys that get 100 yards every week, put it in the bank.

Over at ESPN Tristan Cockcroft does a weekly article in which he breaks down his “Consistency Ratings” for each fantasy football player (Go check it out here: These ratings take incredible research and time to put together and I think it’s one of the more useful tools on the web when it comes to fantasy studying. The gist of the column is Cockcroft breaking down which guys tend to be consistent: straying little in their weekly output. A lower consistency rating is better because it means you can easily predict a player’s output week to week. The players with lower numbers have very little deviation from their weekly averages. For example, although Drew Brees hasn’t had the elite year many expected from him, he comes in at number one in the consistency rating. Here are his 5 fantasy point totals from week to week: 15, 15, 19, 19, 16. The Saints QB has been extremely predictable this year and that’s the goal of these ratings: to figure out which guys you can trust will stick to the mean or average. On the other end of the spectrum is a guy like Matthew Stafford. His weekly totals so far? 29, 13, 3, 25, and 11. Who knows if this week in Minnesota he’ll put up a stud week like in week 1 or if he’ll have a dud like in week 3.

Furthermore, Cockcroft also sets up the percentage of weeks in which each player would have been a “start” (top 10 QB or top 25 RB/WR), a “stud” (top 2 QB or top 5 RB/WR), or a “stiff” (worse than 21st QB or worse than 51st RB/WR). As an example, look at the running back position. Only 4 guys have been a “start” in each game this year: Murray, Lynch, Bell, and Bernard. Every other running back has had at least one week outside of the top-25 positional outputs. But all in all, take these for what they’re worth. Sure T.Y. Hilton has one of the best consistency ratings, but his consistent average is around 7 points (4, 6, 8, 10, 9). I fully believe this tool can help you win a championship. But even if you don’t frequent it, at least know that this can really help when you can’t decide which running back to start this week or which QB you can write in 20 points for. On to the Thursday Night Football Preview which spotlights a few guys to keep your fantasy eye on.


TNF Preview

·      Andrew Luck

o   Luck has gotten off to a scorching start this season putting up more than 25 points per game while leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns. In a homecoming game, Luck will look to continue his hot stretch against a Texans D who has yet to hold a passer under 225 yards. Look for the Stanford product to shine once again in the spotlight. Prediction: 289 yards, 2 touchdowns

·      Ahmad Bradshaw

o   When Colts GM Ryan Grigson traded a first round pick to Cleveland for Trent Richardson last year, he thought he had found his bell cow running back. Instead Richardson has plodded along to an abysmal 3.1 yards per carry. Now the Colts find themselves playing the aged veteran, Bradshaw, more and more as he continues to find success. Going into this TNF matchup against a depleted and weak Texans run defense, Bradshaw will look to exploit the weakness on his way to a solid game. Side note: As an avid Texans fan, I have seen receiving backs destroy this defense so look for Bradshaw to excel in the passing game. Prediction: 10 carries, 61 yards and 5 receptions for 30 yards

·      T.Y. Hilton

o   In his 4 career meetings with the Texans, Hilton has destroyed the Texans secondary with 22 catches for 288 yards and 5 touchdowns. The speedy wideout will look to continue that success tonight, albeit with an improved secondary that looks improved from years past. The safeties will surely be tested with Hilton’s over the top speed and I’m afraid Hilton is going to get behind the D for at least one long gainer. Prediction: 4 catches for 89 yards and a TD

·      Arian Foster

o   Just as Hilton has found success against the in-division rival, Foster has feasted on the opponent’s defense over the years. In his 5 healthy games, Foster has averaged 6.6 yards per carry and found pay dirt 6 times. Coming off a stellar performance against the Cowboys, I think the running back will further improve upon those career stats vs. the Indy defense. Prediction: 23 carries for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns

·      Andre Johnson

o   The ageless wonder has yet to eclipse 100 yards on the season but I think if there’s any game he might do that in, it just might be tonight. He loves being the afterthought, the quiet lurker who’s ready to pounce. Dre is known to destroy Colts CB Vontae Davis and he’s going to continue that trend tonight. Prediction: 7 catches for 101 yards


o   Homerism aside, I truly think the Texans may have the slightest of edges going into tonight’s game. They’re playing in front of the raucous NRG stadium crows and I think QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s veteran wisdom finally shows itself. Bet the house on it (please don’t bet your house): Texans 20 – Colts 17.

Week 6 Rankings

·      QB

1.     Peyton Manning

2.     Philip Rivers

3.     Aaron Rodgers

4.     Matt Ryan

5.     Andrew Luck

6.     Russell Wilson

7.     Jay Cutler

8.     Carson Palmer

9.     Eli Manning

10. Matthew Stafford

11. Ben Roethlisberger

12. Jake Locker

13. Andy Dalton

14. Colin Kaepernick

15. Nick Foles

16. Kirk Cousins

17. Tony Romo

18. Tom Brady

19. Joe Flacco

20. Brian Hoyer


·      RB

1.     Arian Foster

2.     Matt Forte

3.     Le’veon Bell

4.     Marshawn Lynch

5.     Eddie Lacy

6.     Giovani Bernard

7.     Demarco Murray

8.     LeSean McCoy

9.     Andre Ellington

10. Branden Oliver

11. Alfred Morris

12. Frank Gore

13. Andre Williams

14. Ben Tate

15. Lamar Miller

16. Doug Martin

17. Ahmad Brashaw

18. Zac Stacy

19. Justin Forsett

20. Joique Bell

21. Stevan Ridley

22. Steven Jackson

23. Chris Ivory

24. C.J. Spiller

25. Fred Jackson


·      WR

1.     Demaryius Thomas

2.     Jordy Nelson

3.     Julio Jones

4.     Antonio Brown

5.     Dez Bryant

6.     Brandon Marshall

7.     Emmanuel Sanders

8.     Jeremy Maclin

9. Vincent Jackson

10. Percy Harvin

11. Alshon Jeffery

12. Randall Cobb

13. Golden Tate

14. Steve Smith

15. Andre Johnson

16. Michael Floyd

17. DeSean Jackson

18. Victor Cruz

19. Pierre Garcon

20. T.Y. Hilton

21. Mike Wallace

22. Mohamed Sanu

23. Rueben Randle

24. DeAndre Hopkins

25. Brian Quick


·      TE

1.     Rob Gronkowski

2.     Julius Thomas

3.     Greg Olsen

4.     Delanie Walker

5.     Martellus Bennett

6.     Larry Donnell

7.     Antonio Gates

8.     Dwayne Allen

9. Eric Ebron

10. Owen Daniels

11. Jordan Cameron

12. Zach Ertz

13. Jason Witten

14. Heath Miller

15. Niles Paul


·      D/ST

1.     Chargers

2.     49ers

3.     Titans

4.     Seahawks

5.     Bengals

6.     Packers

7.     Broncos

8.     Lions

9.     Giants

10. Texans

11. Ravens

12. Patriots

13. Vikings

14. Cardinals

15. Eagles


·      Flex


1.     Arian Foster

2.     Matt Forte

3.     Le’Veon Bell

4.     Marshawn Lynch

5.     Eddie Lacy

6.     Giovani Bernard

7.     Demaryius Thomas

8.     Jordy Nelson

9.     Julio Jones

10. Demarco Murray

11. LeSean McCoy

12. Andre Ellington

13. Branden Oliver

14. Alfred Morris

15. Antonio Brown

16. Dez Bryant

17. Brandon Marshall

18. Frank Gore

19. Emmanuel Sanders

20. Jeremy Maclin

21. Vincent Jackson

22. Andre Williams

23. Ben Tate

24. Lamar Miller

25. Percy Harvin

26. Doug Martin

27. Ahmad Bradshaw

28. Alshon Jeffery

29. Randall Cobb

30. Golden Tate

31. Zac Stacy

32. Justin Forsett

33. Joique Bell

34. Steve Smith

35. Andre Johnson

36. Michael Floyd

37. DeSean Jackson

38. Stevan Ridley

39. Steven Jackson

40. Chris Ivory

41. Victor Cruz

42. Pierre Garcon

43. T.Y. Hilton

44. C.J. Spiller

45. Mike Wallace

46. Mohamed Sanu

47. Rueben Randle

48. Fred Jackson

49. DeAndre Hopkins

50. Brian Quick


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This has been another edition of Fantasy Decisions with Bradley Maddox. Always remember: An elite owner stays ahead of the curve.

1. Georgia RB Todd Gurley

Last week (W, 44-17, vs. Vanderbilt): 25 attempts, 163 yards, 2 TDs

2014: 773 rushing yards, 8 TDs

Out of the top Heisman candidates, Gurley was one of the few to escape last week with a victory. The 6-foot-1, 226-pounder scorched yet another SEC defense on his way to his third 160-plus-yard game this season. The way the Heisman race looks right now, this could be the year for a running back to finish at the top, with Gurley leading the way. As Oregon’s offense, which includes Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota, struggles, the door for Gurley has swung wide open. He’s lived up to expectations thus far and can be counted to produce each week. 

2. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota

Last week (L, 31-24, vs. Arizona) 20-for-32, 276 yards, 2 TDs

2014: 1,411 passing yards, 15 passing TDs, 3 rushing TDs

In its upset victory over Oregon last week, Arizona exposed a vulnerability in the Duck’s offense that could potentially be troubling for Mariota’s Heisman hopes — a weak offensive line. The Ducks allowed seven sacks of Mariota, enough to leave him, as his offensive coordinator said after the game, “not feeling 100 percent.” With tough Pac-12 defenses coming his way, Mariota’s protection in the pocket will be key to his health and success. But, if there’s one thing the best quarterback in college football has proven, it’s that, even in the face of distress, he’ll stay as calm and consistent as ever. 

3. Notre Dame QB Everett Golson

Last week (W, 17-14, vs. Stanford): 20-for-43, 241 yards, 2 TDs, 34 rushing yards

2014: 1383 passing yards, 13 passing TDs, 4 rushing TDs

Golson didn’t put up any huge numbers in Notre Dame’s week six victory over Stanford, but he was at his best when it mattered most — throwing a fourth-down, game-winning pass with 1:01 left on the clock. Even with one interception in the game, that kind of win against a ranked opponent is huge. The senior has kept Notre Dame undefeated, which some notable Heisman hopeful’s can’t say for their teams. As long as he keeps leading the Irish to victory, Golson will find himself near the top of this list when the season ends. 

4. Mississippi St. QB Dak Prescott

Last week (W, 48-31, vs. Texas A&M): 19-for-25, 259 yards, 2 TDs, 77 rushing yards, 3 rushing TDs

2014: 1,223 passing yards, 13 passing TDs, 455 rushing yards, 6 rushing TDs

There’s always a dark horse that rises among Heisman candidates, and, this season, Prescott is looking like the perfect candidate. Prescott has now taken down two straight ranked SEC opponents in LSU and Texas A&M, scoring eight total touchdowns in the two games. And not only has he had good passing stats, his rushing numbers match that of a running back. The junior quarterback is the definition of a dual-threat. If he keeps this up against the rest of the SEC, he could thrust himself to the top of the Heisman race. 

5. Alabama WR Amari Cooper

Last week (L, 23-17, vs. Ole Miss): 9 receptions, 91 yards

2014: 52 receptions, 746 yards, 5 TDs

Alabama lost last week, but, given that Cooper is still the best wide receiver in the nation, he deserves to be kept on the list. Cooper didn’t score against Ole Miss, but he wasn’t a non-factor either, as his 91 yards helped keep the Crimson Tide in the game. Out of all of the candidates struggling to stay relevant in the Heisman conversation, Cooper is most likely to hang on in the coming weeks — giving him the chance to rise again among Heisman contenders.

Between a handful of injuries and two handfuls of suspended players over the past few years, the Texas football staff has learned to rely on more than just veteran players alone. 

As Shawn Watson, assistant head coach for offense, said, success doesn’t just require “work with ones,” but, instead, in the era of head coach Charlie Strong, the Longhorns look to “develop the team.” With this philosophy, the staff expects to reward freshman standouts who have already proven themselves in the offseason.

“We play with what we have, and we’re always looking to develop younger players so that they’re in place to play,” Watson said. “We always have that philosophy. During training camp, we work with ones, twos and threes so that we can bring the younger players along and increase our depth. It always works out in a formula for a season.”

Among the freshmen rumored to run the offense Saturday are wide receivers Armanti Foreman and Lorenzo Joe. Foreman, the No. 15 wide receiver in the class of 2014, according to ESPN, was a four-time district honoree at Texas City High School, recording 32 touchdowns throughout his high school career before he and his brother, freshman running back D’Onta Foreman, signed with Texas. Joe, an Abilene Cooper High School graduate, arrives in Austin with three all-district honors behind him, including the District 2-5A Offensive Most Valuable Player his senior year as quarterback. Behind center, he passed for 1,864 yards with a 58.3 percent completion rate and also rushed for 1,657 yards, averaging 8.1 yards per carry.

However, his high school performance only got him a spot on the roster. With Strong’s motto for earning privileges, Joe also needs to earn his spot on the playing field. Now, Watson believes Joe’s summer showing has proven that.

“Lorenzo Joe is going to be a factor in our season somewhere down the road,” Watson said. “When? It’s probably going to be when the opportunity presents itself, but he’s been prepared.”

Though he’ll no longer jog out to center, Joe has worked closely with junior starting quarterback David Ash throughout training. Ash said Foreman and Joe showed a “tremendous amount of dedication” that will translate to execution on the field.

“It was a hard camp,” Ash said. “It was a grind, and those guys came out every day, and they improved each and every day. They learned more and more, [showing that], beyond the shadow of a doubt, they have the capability and the ability to play football at this level. It won’t be long before they’re a huge part of what we do.”

Defensively, Strong anticipates freshman defensive back Jason Hall will also see playing time. According to Strong, ESPN’s No. 87 safety in the nation has positioned himself to contribute. The All-State 5A honorable mention tallied 57 tackles, six interceptions and six pass breakups his senior year of high school, claiming the compliments of Texas’ leading defensive back Quandre Diggs.

“He’s a guy that will come up and hit you,” Diggs said. “He’s rangy. He’s like 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3, and he’s smart. He’s instinctive. He’s a freshman who came in and worked his tail off. He’s always had a hunger for the game.”

Freshman running back Donald Catalon has also garnered recognition, although Watson anticipates giving him a little more time to develop before he hits the field.