Texas football’s Jonathon Brooks will be an analytical darling in 2022

One running back for Texas football who is starting to get more and more attention ahead of the 2022 season is former under-the-radar top rookie and sophomore Jonathon Brooks. The Hallettsville product had a strong performance in its true first-year campaign, albeit with a limited workload.

Last season, Brooks recorded 143 rushing yards on 21 carries (6.8 yards per carry), one rushing score and 12 receiving yards on a catch without a touchdown. He was second on the team last season in yards per rush and fifth in rushing yards.

But I fully anticipate that Brooks is going to see a significant increase in his usage this season compared to last year.

What will make Brooks such a solid running back for head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns to rely on this fall has to do with his effectiveness on literally every rush attempt. You could see glimpses of what Brooks could become in terms of on-court efficiency last season.

That was evident in the fact that Brooks ranked among the top five true first-year running backs last season, as well as some of the other, more detailed metrics he gathered.

For example, Brooks had nine first downs, five carries of 10 or more yards, 11 forced missed tackles, 100 yards after initial contact and an elusive 281.4 rating.

If you divide the number of yards after initial contact per carry last season, Brooks actually led the Big 12, with 4.76 yards after initial contact per carry. That number was also good for ranking among the top three first-year running backs in the Power Five last season.

Another metric you can break down by carry that shows how effective Brooks was every time he touched the ball last season was tackles avoided. Brooks averaged over 0.50 forced missed tackles per carry last season, which was more than enough to lead the Big 12.

It’s pretty crazy that he passed star junior running back Bijan Robinson last season in forced missed tackles per rush attempt.

Last but not least, it should be noted that Brooks’ elusive 281.4 rating was good enough to lead the entire country last season. It’s the advanced metric that really illustrates how hard Brooks was to knock down last season.

Texas RB footballer Jonathon Brooks is sure to be an analytical darling in 2022 while improving all of his work

One of the reasons I really think Brooks will break out this season in terms of overall production and efficiency is the potential improvement along the offensive line. Due to struggling at left tackle for much of last season, Brooks was much more effective passing the ball to the right side of the line of scrimmage.

He roughly doubled his yards per carry, yards per carry after initial contact, and more 10 yards when running to the right than he did to the left side of the line. melee last season. But if Texas can move senior offensive tackle Christian Jones to the right side of the line while seeing true freshman Kelvin Banks lock in the left tackle position, there should be more balance on the outside of the offensive line compared to last season.

Jones was a very skilled run blocker when taking snaps at right tackle the past two seasons. In fact, the best blocking rating of his career came while taking running snaps as a right tackle.

With Brooks running behind Banks or Jones, he should have a lot more lanes opening up every time he puts the ball on the ground. This will only improve his efficiency every time he touches the ball this fall.

Another reason to believe Brooks will continue to increase in efficiency is the simple fact that he’s spent another season on that offense. Brooks was originally recruited by former Texas head coach Tom Herman and former running backs coach Stan Drayton coming out of Hallettsville High School in the 2021 cycle.

Sark’s offensive system is obviously very different from Herman’s, as he emphasizes getting athletes out into space and setting the tone with the ground game first to start layering d other concepts with the offense. Instead of focusing primarily on power runs through the middle and fast RPOs, Brooks can now focus solely on his running style and his elusiveness in open terrain.

This will encourage Brooks to really focus on improving his speed and lower body strength so he can continue to be a tougher ball carrier to knock down at the point of initial contact. Brooks can also continue to work on his vision to really use his underrated cutting ability to his advantage.

A very underrated aspect of Brooks’ game is his cutting ability once he is able to find a lane. Brooks’ first cut allows him to find the gap on the line of scrimmage and hit the holeshot to break through multiple layers of defense.

It’s also worth mentioning that with more weapons around him in this offense in 2022, Brooks should be able to have even more room to run when he gets the ball in his hands this season.

Combine these three factors of improved talent along the offensive line, Brooks’ second season in this system, and improved skill position talent around him, and it’s easy to see why Brooks could be destined for a season in small groups in 2022. I would also bet that Brooks will continue to be an analytical darling this fall, as he was while seeing a limited workload last season.

The icing on the cake that should prove Brooks is in line for a great 2022 season has to do with how impressive he has been throughout fall camp. Brooks was definitely one of the biggest lifters in fall camp for the Longhorns, which should earn him even more reps this season.

Texas finished last season with a 5-7 record (3-6 Big 12), missing the bowls season for the first time since 2016. Brooks and the Longhorns will open the 2022 regular season at home on September 3 against the Louisiana Warhawks-Monroe, with a kickoff time set at 7:00 p.m. CT.