Dallas Cowboys

Academic bump forced former Texas Longhorns back Chris Warren to enter NFL draft

Academic issues are why former Texas running back Chris Warren III entered the NFL Draft instead of following through on his plans to transfer to another university.

Warren announced his intentions to transfer after a disappointing 2017 season in which he started the season as running back before being moved to tight end.

“Some things got to me and threw me off a little bit,” Warren said Wednesday at the Michael Johnson Performance Center where he is training for the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine. “My schedule and routine got messed up. And so my grades didn’t look the way they should have. Some things transpired. I couldn’t transfer. I would have had to go back to school for a semester, but it would have had to have been out of my own pocket. So it was best for my family if I went into the draft.”

Warren had a school in mind that he wanted to transfer to, but none of it matters now. He’s focused 100 percent on living out his childhood dreams and following in his father's footsteps of playing in the NFL. The NFL Draft is April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Warren is hoping to emulate a similar career as his father, Chris Warren Jr., a Pro Bowl running back who played 11 seasons with Seattle, Dallas and Philadelphia. Warren views himself as a running back at the next level, too.

At approximately 250 pounds, Warren sees himself as an ideal back for short-yardage situations, although said he’d be open to playing tight end or H-back in the NFL if that is what will land him a job.

“Now it’s a business,” Warren said. “I want to play running back and I feel like I really can play running back. … I think [short-yardage backs] are undervalued. I just believe there’s always going to be a point in time that you need somebody who can get your short yardage. You see teams all the time putting a big tight end or defensive lineman in short-yardage situations.”

Warren flashed potential of being an elite runner at times in college. He rushed for 276 yards and four touchdowns against Texas Tech in 2015, and ran for 166 yards and two touchdowns against San Jose State in the second week of the 2017 season.

But he never had sustained success. A knee injury wrecked his sophomore season and he found himself getting a limited number of carries as last season wore on. The coaching staff eventually moved him to tight end.

Warren finished his three-year college career with 1,150 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.

“It’s been a really long process, especially from my freshman year,” Warren said of his college career. “Coming in, just ready to work and ready to get Texas back to where it should be in my opinion. We were definitely on that road, but we hit some bumps, had a coaching change [from Charlie Strong to Tom Herman] and then had some bumps even this past season.”

But Warren does believe the program is heading in the right direction under Herman. Warren just didn’t want to be part of it, especially if he wouldn’t be utilized as a running back.

“I think that Texas can get back to where they should be,” Warren said. “It was a tough call for me [to leave]. They tried to convince me to stay.”

Warren is now solely focused on making it in the league. He received an invitation to the combine later this month and is preparing for it at MJP.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Warren said. “Either they recognize I can do some things at the running back position, or they want to see what my dad’s son has and what he’s capable of doing. “I honestly don’t believe I have to prove anything. I just feel like I have to get what I’ve done out to them.”