This past week, Jenks running back Alex Ross gave Oklahoma its second verbal commitment.
After beginning the year at defensive end, he was moved to starting running back following an injury to Zack Langer. Despite Ross' lack of experience there, he proved to be unstoppable, rushing for 1,656 yards and 28 touchdowns on only 125 carries — that's a touchdown for every 4.4 carries and a 13.2 yards per carry average — for the Class 6A runner-up Trojans. He also scored three times on pass receptions and three more on kickoff returns, averaging a staggering 40-plus yards per return.
Jenks coach Allan Trimble spoke with The Oklahoman about his, and ultimately OU's, high-powered runner:
At the beginning of the year, Alex was playing defense, then all of a sudden, he's putting up huge numbers at running back the last half of the season. Where did he come from?
“He started last year every game on defense. He's a tremendous talent, a medal winner in track. We had plans to utilize him in our offense mainly the way we did in the first 4-5 games. When Zack Langer (a University of Tulsa signee) broke his foot — we were really decimated with tailback problems — we put him back there. He was a little rusty. He played running back as a freshman, but got hurt in a car accident and missed some of his freshman year. We didn't realize he'd be our every down guy. But by the end of the year, he was feeling it. When he comes in to practice this spring, he's going to get better. I still think the best is yet to come.”
Is he the most efficient, productive player you've ever had?
“It's not even close. I went back and looked. Chris Adkins averaged 7 yards per carry, was a three-year starter. Kejuan Jones averaged 7.8. Bobby Klinck was amazing, he averaged 7.8, too. But no one since I have coached here, which is 1990, is within 5 yards per carry of Alex's average.”
Did he seem to just have a natural feel for playing running back, in his vision, his cuts, considering his lack of experience there?
“I would look at it the opposite. He was quite a bit rusty. But what he's got is power, athleticism. If the o-line can get him to a safety or corner, they can't bring him down. He might make a wrong cut or read, but at the high school level, there's just not many guys that can bring him down. And he's young. He's a young junior. I think he'll get better as he gets more repetition. It will be scary. He took over completely on the run. He was playing full-time defensive end, and didn't even know he would be playing running back. He's one of those rare guys, if he gets even with anyone in high school, they're going to lose. A couple of times during the playoffs, even in the championship game, he bounced outside and made huge plays.”
How would you compare his athleticism to other players you've coached?
“I'm anxious to see if he becomes a great football player, because he's an unbelievable athlete. In 15 years of coaching, he's the best combine athlete I've ever seen. His vertical is probably 38-40 inches, weighs 208 pounds. He just needs to settle in at running back. The more carries he gets, the better he's going to be, because he's still raw.”