Midwest City (Okla.) Carl Albert has had its fair share of football stars through the years. Among them was Mike Gaddis, a powerful yet smooth-gliding running back who eventually starred at Oklahoma.
Gaddis’ nephew, J.D. Runnels, is a senior on this year’s Carl Albert squad. And like Gaddis, Runnels is all set to play Division I football.
But the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Runnels just doesn’t know where he will be playing his college ball quite yet.
A few teams have emerged as the front-runners, including Texas A&M. Runnels took an unofficial visit to the Aggie campus for A&M’s 24-3 defeat of Notre Dame last weekend. He came away impressed.
“The house was packed,” Runnels said. “That stadium fits like 80,000 people, but there were something like 87,000 in there. It was just awesome.”
Runnels has a scholarship offer in hand from the Aggies. He is scheduled to return to Aggieland on Dec. 7 for his official visit. The Aggies, like other schools, are recruiting Runnels primarily as a fullback.
Runnels play tight end in high school, where he’s made eight catches for 185 yards as a senior.
Florida State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Northwestern are also involved to varying degrees. Of the group, Florida State and Kansas State seem to have the keenest interest.
“They both call me once a week and they keep telling me they want me to come in for a visit. I was trying to get to Florida State for a visit. But the Miami game, which is the one they wanted me to come in for, is right after my own high school game. So, I can’t do that. Kansas State just says they want me to come up some time in December.”
Unlike last December, Runnels will have time to make the visits.
“I’m not playing basketball this year,” he said. “I scored 20 points a game last year, but they fired the coach and I thought that that was just stupid. I’ve got to take these visits anyway.”
For advice in making his college decision, Runnels turned to someone who’s been there before, his Uncle Mike.
“He just told me that I’ll know it when it’s right. He said to take a few visits and see which one feels right.”
One school leads the pack right now because they seem to have made that invaluable first impression.
“I feel good about Texas A&M right now, but I’m in that spot where I still need to take some visits to see if it’s right for me. I was really looking for a school that was within a three-to-four hours of home and A&M is six (hours). But I can handle that. If it’s right, then I just have to go with it.”
Carl Albert is 3-1 this season. They were ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 5A two weeks ago before losing to the now No. 1 team Oklahoma City Douglass.