Northeast Texas is no stranger to great running backs.

New Boston senior Damien Haskins follows in the footsteps of regional tailback greats such as Hooks' Billy Sims and Liberty-Eylau's LaMichael James. Haskins also had a tough act to follow at his own school, where Shakeem Jefferson rushed for more than 6,000 yards, including 2,800 yards in 2011, when Haskins ran for 1,000-plus as a junior.

But as the go-to back in 2012, Haskins exploded. The 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior ran for 3,207 yards and 52 touchdowns, averaging 11.1 yards per carry. Haskins' rushing exploits led New Boston to a 13-1 record and Class 2A Division I Region II championship appearance.

Because of his stellar performance, Haskins is the 2012 East Texas Super Team Offensive Player of the Year.

"I just knew I had to carry the team and step up and do some things I've never done before," said Haskins of replacing Jefferson. "It feels pretty good. It feels good to break some of those guys' records."

Haskins led East Texas in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and scoring. He was previously committed to Memphis, but a higher-profile school came calling in late October.

After a visit to Oregon State's Corvallis, Ore., campus, Haskins pulled the trigger on a commitment to the Beavers. He's been steadfast since.

"I picked it because I like the foundation they have at their school, football-wise and academic-wise," said Haskins, who will major in business. "The coaches are really good. They have your best interests in football and academics. They're just good people.

"After I went there and visited, I knew I wanted to go there. There was no use to going anywhere else."

A Texas running back going to the Pacific Northwest isn't unprecedented. Atlanta Falcons running back Jacquizz Rodgers was a star at Oregon State after playing for Rosenberg Lamar Consolidated. James became Heisman Trophy candidate at Oregon after his Liberty-Eylau days. Fellow L-E tailback alumnus Tra Carson went to Oregon before transferring to Texas A&M, where he is now.

"It's kinda neat to see fellow Texans play at those schools," Haskins said.