1. Chris Carson – Junior
Chris Carson was easily the Cowboys’ biggest 2015 recruit in terms of instant impact for the upcoming season, and his arrival couldn’t have been better-timed.
Carson, a native of Lilburn, Georgia, spent the last two seasons playing for Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kansas, where he accumulated 1,605 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 6.4 yards per carry. His work at Butler earned him the No. 14 ranking among all junior college players according to Scout.com.
Carson grew up 50 miles away from Athens as a lifelong Georgia Bulldogs fan, and was committed to Mark Richt’s team beforehand, until suddenly flipping his commitment to Oklahoma State before February 4th’s signing day.
One day prior to flipping, Carson told Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was staying with the Bulldogs. In January however, he had previously admitted to Carvell that he was worried about their depth at running back, stating, “I’ve got to think about how much playing time I’m going to get at Georgia.”
The departure of Hill no doubt played a major role in Carson electing to come to Stillwater, where he finally arrived officially in June. At six-foot-one 210 lbs., Carson displays great vision, picking his holes and then accelerating, using his strength to bust through arm tackles. He is patient with the ball in his hands, opting to wait for the play to develop, as he is not reliant on sheer speed. His running style is very similar to Desmond Roland’s, which should bode well behind an improved offensive line.
Obviously, Carson’s major disadvantage is his late arrival to the team. In regards to being a little behind the rest of the roster, Carson knows he’s got some ground to make up, telling The Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten back in June, “I’m excited. I can’t wait. After missing spring football, it felt like I was away from football for a whole year. It felt weird. It will take a couple of practices to get fully back in rhythm, but I know I’m fresh and I’m ready.”
When discussing the Cowboys’ lack of a potent running game the last two seasons, Carson made known his goals. Personally, Carson aims to run for at least 1,000 yards and be among “the top three” backs in the Big 12.
As far as his goals for the Cowboys in 2015? “I want to be in that playoff (the College Football Playoff),” he said.
For a team this full of potential, it’s not exactly a far-fetched goal to have. Carson and his fellow running backs will have much to do with the Cowboys’ success this season.