VYPE Cover Story: Hometown Legend - El Campo's Owens ready to leave lasting legacy
WALKING AROUND A TOWN THAT BOASTS A POPULATION JUST NORTH OF 12,000 PEOPLE, RUEBEN OWENS II – THE NATION’S NO. 1 RUNNING BACK IN THE CLASS OF 2023 – KNOWS HE MUST ALWAYS SET A GOOD EXAMPLE WITH HIS PLAY ON THE FIELD FOR THE HOMETOWN EL CAMPO RICEBIRDS AND HOW HE CARRIES HIMSELF IN THE COMMUNIT Y JUST 75 MILES SOUTHEAST OF DOWNTOWN HOUSTON.
Owens II knows how important football is to this small Texas town.
“El Campo, it’s a small town but it’s real big on football,” he said.
People, especially young kids look up to the four-star Louisville-commit. Owens knows his impact on the next generation. This summer, in between taking official visits and playing 7-on-7, Owens added a new title to his resume – coach.
“I know the kids love being around me, they want to learn and play ball,” Owens II said about coaching Little League football this summer. “I want to teach them some things that can help them at the next level.
“When I was younger, it was just the coaches. I remember being a Little Bird, good days. It’s a lot of fun. The kids they learn pretty fast. A lot of them have some talent.”
Two years ago, when Owens was just busting onto the scene, VYPE sat down with him for a story.
Since then, his recruitment took off. The national attention came with it. He quickly became the most coveted offensive recruit in the Class of 2023.
Owens entered this year as the No. 1 running back in the country. The No. 3 overall player in Texas for the Class of 2023 just behind Katy Paetow’s David Hicks and Denton Guyer’s Jackson Arnold, who is committed to Oklahoma.
In the country, Owens is the No. 23 overall prospect, checking in at a 96 rating on 247Sports.
“I knew I was going to do these things, I worked hard for it,” Owens II said. “Hard work and dedication, and the work paid off. I knew it was all going to happen like this.”
Last season, Owens helped guide the Rice Birds to an 11-2 overall record and played in all 13 games.
Owens churned out 2,989 total yards on the ground, averaging 229.9 yards per game, 12.1 yards per carry, eclipsed 100 yards in 12 of his 13 games and scored 46 touchdowns. He also had 252 yards receiving with two touchdowns on 15 catches.
Owens enters this season with 4,500 career yards on 388 carries with 68 total touchdowns. With his current pace, Owens could surpass 100 career touchdowns and finish well north of 7,000 yards rushing in his career.
With his stellar numbers, has come with it plenty of national attention.
“The attention is cool and all. I worked hard for it, so I feel like I deserved it,” Owens II said. “I proved what I could do on the field.”
On June 20, Owens shocked the recruiting landscape when he verbally committed to Louisville, which just came days after a visit.
“I knew everyone was going to be shocked when I committed to Louisville,” Owens II said. “I took a lot into that. My parents liked Louisville a lot. Even my sister liked Louisville. Then I click with all the other guys who are committed there.”
Owens II has some unfinished business to attend to before he steps onto campus in January at Louisville.
One of his goals is to eclipse the 3,000-yard mark, win a State Championship and hope to solidify his legacy in El Campo, maybe even in bronze one day.
“My legacy, I hope one day I have a statue built in El Campo,” he said. “I’m going to give back to the community once I get there.”