After three years of waiting in the wings behind the likes of Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love, both whom have gone on to NFL teams, Trevor Speights may soon be getting his chance to showcase what made him one of the highest recruited running backs in his class and, maybe, give Valley football something to cheer about.
Between 2012 thru 2015, Speights dazzled defenses and spectators alike playing running back for the McAllen Memorial Mustangs. By the time Speights closed out his final game, a crushing 49-35 loss to Harlingen High in the 2nd round of the playoffs, he had amassed 9,868 rushing yards, good enough to land him as the 4th all-time leading rusher in Texas high school football history.
After signing with Stanford, Speights spent his redshirt season watching McCaffrey light up college football for a 2nd straight season and spent his redshirt freshman and sophomore years backing up Heisman runner-up Love.
Earlier this year, Love entered the NFL draft where he was subsequently picked in the 4th round by the Washington Redskins.
With Love gone, all eyes are now on Speights to seize the starting job and keep budding class rival Dorian Maddox at bay. Although he had a marginally better 2018 season than Maddox, Speights only had a decent showing as a starter against UC Davis, rushing for 87 yards on 11 carries, as well as against Utah, rushing for 56 yards on 17 carries and a TD. However, neither of these performances cemented his status as Stanford’s answer to Love’s absence and have actually case serious doubt as to whether he will be given the lion’s share of the carries next season.
Further, Speights was not named the starter during the Cardinal Red-White Spring game. Although he scored a rushing TD in that game, Speights will have some work to do before he can hope to be named the starter when Stanford takes the field against Northwestern in their season opener.
If Speights does, in fact, get the starting nod, it would be an incredible milestone for modern Valley football as coaches can finally point to another success story and attach some small legitimacy to an area aching for a win against football programs from “up North” that hasn’t had one since Roberto Garza made it to the NFL.
(Ok sure, people can point to Hidalgo alum “I couldn’t sleep because I feared for my life” Shea Patterson starting at quarterback for Michigan, but the guy only spent ONE year in Hidalgo before jetting off to Football Factory High School.)
This isn’t the first time in recent memory that a Valley native had an opportunity to showcase their talent at a major program. Back in 2006, another McAllen Memorial running back, Bradley Stephens, also made headlines as one of the top recruits in the nation, only to flame out years after signing with Texas A&M and never getting a legitimate shot at getting any playing time. To be fair, Stephens never really got a fair shake and played behind three fairly talented running backs that would have never have let him see the light of day beneath that loaded depth chart.
But for Speights, there’s really no one left on that roster to REALLY challenge him. McCaffrey nor Love are running out onto that field. Speights has every opportunity to seize this moment now not only for himself, but for everyone else down here that’s rooting for him.