Texas coach Mack Brown handed the top running back spot to Vondrell McGee on Thursday.

McGee and Fozzy Whittaker were the front-runners for the job for the No. 2 Longhorns. McGee pulled ahead when Whittaker missed several days with minor injuries. Whittaker is expected to be available for the Longhorns' season opener against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 5.

McGee, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound junior, rushed for 376 yards and four touchdowns last season. Quarterback Colt McCoy led the Longhorns in rushing last season with 561 yards and 11 TDs.

McGee had a good training camp, but others will still be in the mix to get plenty of carries, Brown said.

"If Vondrell is making yards, he'll get a bunch. If not, we'll get someone else in there," Brown said. "Fozzy had an outstanding summer. He will play if he's healthy."

Cody Johnson, who rushed for a team-high 12 touchdowns last season, most of them in short-yardage situations, also could be used as the first backup.

McGee, whom Brown called "tough as nails" had his best game last season against Florida Atlantic when he rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and also caught three passes.

His touchdown with 1:29 left to play against Texas Tech briefly gave Texas the lead before the Red Raiders scoring the winning touchdown 88 seconds later to hand the Longhorns their only loss.

Brown said he is still unsure of the running game at the end of training camp. He said Texas must run the ball better late in games than it did last season but won't get a true feel for that until the first game.