Thursday, May 15, 2014
Burnt Orange Breakdown: Jalen Overstreet
By Max Olson
Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series will take a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from them. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.
Sophomore Jalen Overstreet has considerable talent, but Texas' running back depth chart is loaded.
Recruitment rewind: Initially recruited as a safety, Overstreet became a late priority for Texas in the fall of 2011 following the departures of Connor Wood and Garrett Gilbert. Then-OC Bryan Harsin spearheaded a search for a second quarterback pledge to join Connor Brewer and landed Overstreet. The Tatum (Texas) standout got offers from Arkansas and Missouri as an athlete and Michigan saw him as a receiver, but he couldn't turn down a chance to play quarterback at UT.
Career so far: Overstreet redshirted in 2012 and spent a year learning the Texas offense at quarterback. Despite Overstreet's encouraging showing in his first spring game, Texas coaches elected to move him to running back full-time before the 2013 season. His first career game was impressive -- 92 rushing yards and two TDs in the fourth quarter against New Mexico State -- but that would be really the only highlight of his redshirt freshman season. Overstreet logged 11 carries for 10 yards over the rest of the season as Texas' No. 4 running back.
Best-case scenario for 2014: With two seniors and a junior ahead of him, it's difficult to envision a scenario in which Overstreet emerges as Texas' starting running back in 2014. A good season for him might just be proving himself in nonconference play and developing into a change-of-pace back off the bench in Big 12 play who gets 50 carries and makes a few big plays (think Jeremy Hills in 2011?). He can keep Texas' other backs fresh while proving he's got a future at this spot.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: A long season on the bench. This is Malcolm Brown's senior season, so you know he's going to get his carries. Johnathan Gray is supposed to be ready to go for the opener. And if Joe Bergeron gets back in the good graces of the staff, he's at least the short-yardage back. Even in a offense that will be fairly run-pass balanced, that doesn't leave a ton of room for Overstreet if he doesn't go out and earn some playing time.
Future expectations: Don't overlook the three freshmen coming in. While it's unknown whether Kevin Shorter will be cleared to play, the addition of Donald Catalon and D'Onta Foreman does pose a threat to Overstreet's hopes to seeing the field. With several more backs committed for the 2015 class, Overstreet could find the room is getting too crowded and either ask to play a new position or ask to leave. Let's hope neither are the case, because Overstreet is an explosive talent and, entering his third season in the program, has shown promise that he can become a threat at running back.