Many youngsters dream of making plays on Saturday afternoons for their favorite college football team.
But elite 2023 running back prospect Rueben Owens never looked that far down the road.
“It was always my dream to play varsity [high school] football as a freshman," Owens told SI Sooners. "I’ve just been working toward that moment.”
In fact, Owens expressed that he quite honestly didn't expect to have FBS interest until much later in his prep career. But when he realized his dream and became the starting running back for El Campo High as a freshman, the offers came pouring in almost immediately.
Less than two months into his first season of high school football, Arkansas became the first program to offer Owens. And as the 5-foot-11, 180-pound prodigy continued to run circles around El Campo's opponents, the scholarship letters began to pile up.
LSU, Florida, Baylor, Auburn and Georgia were among the 15 FBS programs to offer Owens before he finished his freshman year. The Sooners joined the fray in January, as Lincoln Riley and his staff extended their first offer in the class of 2023 to Owens.
“It’s just a blessing," he said. "I didn’t think it was all going to come this fast. I thought (offers) would come later on, like my junior year."
But as the old saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. The Friday night lights are no exception.
Given his immediate success on the country's toughest prep circuit, it's no surprise that elite programs across the nation came after Owens as early as they did.
“I’ve faced some big competition," he acknowledged. "Our district is not easy. Texas is different; the football is different.”
And "different" is exactly what the Sooners are trying to sell Owens on. Oklahoma has rostered a future NFL tailback every season going back at least three decades. Joe Mixon is one of the league's best all-purpose backs. Damien Williams arguably should have taken Super Bowl MVP honors. Adrian Peterson is a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.
And the very individual who's recruiting Owens — DeMarco Murray — is more than acquainted with the professional game, having won the NFL rushing crown in 2014.
“I love their coaching staff," Owens said of Oklahoma. "Coach Murray, Coach Lincoln (Riley), Coach (Cale) Gundy, they’re all cool. When I visited, they gave me a great tour around their school. I like their nutrition program as well. They showed that they really want me at their school.”
Another program that seems to want Owens just as badly is the defending national champion LSU Tigers, who regularly reach out to the coveted back.
“Coach O [Ed Orgeron], Coach [Kevin] Faulk, they keep in touch," Owens said. "Them and OU, they keep in touch a lot.”
There's perhaps no greater testament to Owens' talent than the fact that he has two College Football Playoff teams warring over him — as a rising sophomore. But no matter where he lands, Owens says an opportunity to contribute right away is what he's seeking.
“I’m just looking to play," Owens said. "I don’t want to get redshirted or anything.”
He's certainly well accustomed to immediate playing time, and if Owens can continue to build upon the smashing success of his freshman season, he won't be playing second fiddle at the collegiate level, either.
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