As twin brother D'Onta Foreman continues to break out for the Texas Longhorns, sophomore wide receiver Armanti Foreman faces a critical crossroads in his development.
After catching redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard's first career touchdown pass against Rice and producing four catches for 70 yards against Cal, the more highly-recruited twin has caught only four passes since. The game against TCU highlighted his recent struggles -- on one pass down the sideline, Foreman didn't show the spatial awareness and body control to ensure that he came down with the football inbounds. On another, his concentration seemingly lapsed and he let another pass go through his hands, negating the opportunity for a big gain.
Against Cal, he even dropped a would-be touchdown pass that wasn't particularly well-thrown, but still hit him in the hands. And in the Cotton Bowl, Foreman wasn't a factor at all against Oklahoma.
In that game, fellow sophomore Lorenzo Joe received the bulk of the playing time outside and capitalized by making a number of key blocks, earning an appearance at Monday's media availability as a result. Foreman is still listed as the starter at the X position, but if the play caller Jay Norvell once again opts for a run-heavy gameplan, Joe could end up playing more agains Kansas State, too.
Other than the fact that Joe is three inches taller than Forema, the big difference is in attitude and work ethic. There's a reason why head coach Charlie Strong said that D'Onta was his favorite twin -- it's because D'Onta works harder than his smaller but arguably more talented brother.
"Armanti can act like a real diva if he's not challenged," Texas City offensive coordinator Chase Fickessen told Horns Digest. "When Armanti is engaged and challenged, he's at his best."
When Foreman was in high school, Fickessen said, he could backpedal 40 yards faster than some of the other receivers could run it -- there weren't any options for the coaching staff if Armanti didn't put in max effort. So for the first time, he's learning about competition.
"Right now, he hasn't really been playing the best ball," D'Onta said Monday. "I tell him that he didn't really have to fight because, in high school, he was the best receiver on the team. I was the best running back on the team, but we had other good running backs. I couldn't have bad practices because they had somebody else who could go in. We couldn't do that with Armanti."
The recruiting process didn't do anything to humble Armanti, either, especially compared to how coaches treated D'Onta. As the offers rolled in for Armanti, D'Onta had to wait for his Texas offer and didn't even see many schools enter his recruitment merely to help land his brother. Armanti, meanwhile, collected offers from a number of big-time programs and ranked just outside the top 100 players nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
But Foreman will have a major opportunity this weekend against the Wildcats. Head coach Bill Snyder will surely prepare Kansas State to take away the Texas running game that flourished against Oklahoma, so the Horns will likely need to exploit a Wildcats defense that struggles to defend the passing game in space.
Enter Armanti Foreman, the speed merchant who is so fast that Strong says he can turn on the afterburners and catch up to passes in practice that initially look badly overthrown.
Foreman has certainly come through in big moments before -- he was such a highly-rated recruit for a reason. In one game against Pearland Dawson as a senior, Foreman had to play through a stomach virus that required hospitalization, according to Fickesson. Hours later, Foreman posted five total touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing, and two interception returns for touchdowns) and was the catalyst in the blowout victory against a rival school.
As long as Foreman follows some sage advice from his brother, whose new tattoo reads "My Brother's Keeper" but otherwise matches the one that Armanti now has on his own back, he'll have a chance to be part of the passing attack this weekend.
"I told him he has to go out and work hard every day," D'Onta said. "I told him he can't get complacent. He understands that but, for a time, maybe he got complacent. He's had wonderful practices lately. Hopefully, he'll keep that up."