Earlier this week, the Boise State Broncos landed a three-star recruit in Raymond Sheard, a running back out of Arlington High School (Arlington, Texas).
Arlington, Texas running back Raymond Sheard has committed to Boise State after his weekend visit.— Chase GloryFueled (@ChaseGlorfield) November 17, 2014
Sheard adds to an impressive offensive haul for the Broncos, with talents such as four-star quarterback Brett Rypien and three-star wide receiver Akilian Butler already committed. But just what should Broncos fans expect Sheard to add to the class? Let's take a look.
At 6'1", 200 pounds, Sheard is an imposing force in the backfield. The most basic description I can think of for him would be that he looks like a linebacker, but moves like a tailback.
During his senior season at Arlington High School, Sheard ran for 1,502 yards and 17 touchdowns on 211 carries, giving him over 3,000 rushing yards for his high school career (DallasNews.com). He reportedly passed up Colorado State, Tulsa, Oregon State, and Texas State in favor of the Broncos.
As for why he chose Boise State, the Idaho Statesman's piece on his commitment outlined it pretty well:
"That made me really happy," Sheard said. "College coaches will say what you want them to say. I heard all that from every coach. Coach Harsin said, ‘Everything I say is going to be real and it’s going to be honest.’ Ever since I heard that, that made me want to go to Idaho to check out the school and check out the city. I loved it."
Size and Power
As I already mentioned, the first thing that jumps out at you when you watch Sheard's tape is his size. Once Sheard gets by the defensive line, he faces hardly any size disadvantages. This will change some in college, obviously, but he'll never have to worry about being undersized at any level.
You'll see some high school players who have size, but don't really know how to use it; that isn't the case with Sheard. He doesn't shy away from contact at any level of the defense, and he looks very comfortable pass blocking. If Boise State teaches him how to use a stiff arm (which I never saw a single time in his highlights), he could become a dangerous combination of size and...
Speed and Agility
If Sheard is a tiny-bit faster, you're probably looking at a four-star recruit whose mailbox is bursting with offers. When I say it's fun watching him run, I mean it's fun watching him just move his legs in a fast manner. He glides around the gridiron with seemingly zero effort, and watching him in the open field is an absolute pleasure.
He also boasts impressive agility for his size; he can change directions quickly and works well when operating in small spaces. Don't expect him to pull off any earth-shattering displays of athleticism, but he's very capable of opening up big runs for himself on occasion.
His vision isn't spectacular. This is most evident when he's in the open field and opts for a "run in a straight line and pick up as many yards as possible" approach. He will do the occasional hurdle over an oncoming safety, which is always fun to watch, but for the most part he'll stick with straight line running. This, of course, isn't the worst problem to have, especially considering he is very good at running in a straight line.
But yeah, back to the hurdle thing. His size will have defenders going for his legs often, so to see him have a nifty counter for it already is pretty cool. Hurdling at the college level will be a tiny bit riskier, but the world needs more hurdling.
In terms of Sheard being a receiving back, there isn't a ton of evidence to go off of. He could be a decent pass-catcher, but he certainly hasn't shown much throughout his high school career. If it isn't much of a strength, I'm sure Boise State could develop him.
One final thing I love about his running style is his disdain for the sideline. He squeezes every inch he can out of every carry and doesn't rely on slipping out of bounds to avoid big hits. If the defense wants to stop a Raymond Sheard run, they're going to have to drag him down.
Sheard is decent under-the-radar get for the Broncos, and I could see him being an immediate contributor next season. He isn't the most dazzling back and he doesn't do anything at an elite level, but he seems to be adequate at just about everything. If he can develop skills as a pass catcher, Boise State might've found themselves a reliable, do-it-all back.
Oh, and here he is in a Boise State jersey:
Check out highlights of Sheard via Hudl: