You can watch the YouTube highlights and see the recruiting rankings and know what kind of player Herschel Sims is.
But even with the change-of-direction moves, the see-you-later touchdowns and the five-star love, you can't know what kind of person Oklahoma State will soon be getting.
Sims is expected to make his commitment to the Cowboys official next week on signing day — the running back's brief flirtation with TCU and Baylor seems to have passed after a visit to Stillwater last weekend — and he could be good enough to play a significant role next season. Still, what he does on the field is never going to be more impressive than what he has already done off it.
Sims is a survivor of abuse.
The beatings began one night when his mother and stepfather returned to their Abilene, Texas, home after going to a movie. Something set off his stepdad, who became enraged with the three kids. He tied their feet to the bunk beds, tied their hands to a door knob and started whooping them.
Sims was only 6 or 7 years old.
His siblings were even younger.
“He used an extension cord and his fist,” Sims told the CBS television affiliate in Abilene. “It just went on for days and days.”
A teacher eventually noticed that Sims' younger brother was having trouble sitting down in class. Authorities were alerted, and arrests were made.
Sims' stepfather was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the abuse, and his mother was sentenced to eight years for not reporting it.
Because she had been incarcerated for several years for other crimes when Sims was just a baby, she missed almost 16 years of his life. That meant he lived with grandparents, with aunts and uncles, even with friends from time to time.
It was a recipe for disaster.
For awhile, Sims was headed for trouble. He acted up in class. He talked back to teachers.
But he always had this dream.
“I'm going to play for the Cowboys one day,” he told his mom when he was only 4 years old.
Not the OSU Cowboys. The Dallas Cowboys.
Somewhere along the way, Sims realized that he had to stay out of trouble if he ever wanted to live his dream. He had to be different from those around him. He had to avoid the pitfalls that so many in his family had.
When his mom was released from prison this past fall, it was the first time that all of his grandma's children had been out of jail at the same time.
Sims decided to break that cycle.
Now, his coaches rave about him, and his classmates flock to him. He is loved not only for the player that he has become but also for the person that he is.
Is he perfect?
Of course not, but the teenager who's already been featured on MTV and hyped during the Army All-American Game seems to have better-than-average head on his shoulders. He takes his math classes seriously, for example, because the skills will be important one day for money management.
Will it be NFL money? That remains to be seen, but as speedy and skilled as the 5-foot-10, 190-pound tailback is, his greatest attribute may be his strength.
We're not just talking his bench press, either.
This past fall, Sims separated his shoulder in the second game of the season. The injury occurred in the first half, and with the pounding that a running back takes, no one expected him to return.
But with his team struggling in the second half, Sims returned and spurred Abilene to victory.
Watching him play, you can see that Herschel Sims is the best player in OSU's recruiting class.
Considering his story, you can argue that there's no stronger person in that group, either.