Vince Young. D’Onta Foreman.
On the list of Texas Longhorns ball carriers with the highest career yards per carry, the Longhorns junior running back sat tied with the transcendent, national-championship winning quarterback at 6.8 yards per attempt heading last Saturday’s game against the Iowa State Cyclones.
Only San Diego State Aztecs star Donnel Pumphrey is averaging more yards per game than Foreman this season after five straight 100-yard performances give the Texas City native seven straight overall dating back to last season, which just surpassed Cedric Benson and Chris Gilbert for the second-longest streak in school history.
Only Earl Campbell has more with 11 straight in 1977.
But even though Campbell and Ricky Williams won the Heisman Trophy at Texas, neither averaged as many yards per carry or recorded runs as long as Foreman’s 93-yard touchdown against Kansas last season.
In fact, that was the third-longest run in school history and longest since Gilbert’s record-setting 96-yard touchdown in 1967.
Over those last seven games, Foreman has 147 carries for 1,035 yards and 11 touchdowns for an average of 7.04 yards per carry. With 731 yards on the season, Foreman only needs 269 more to become the first Longhorns running back to surpass 1,000 rushing yards since Jamaal Charles in 2007.
In the Cotton Bowl the 6’1, 248-pounder struggled to find space in the first half, but managed to finish with career highs in carries (25) and yards (159), along with two touchdowns.
His 22-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter provided the ‘Horns some last-second hope that an onside-kick recovery and miracle play could pull out the victory.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Foreman’s performance was his lack of full health after suffering an abdominal strain late in the loss to Oklahoma State. Yet, he still managed to get stronger as the game went on against Oklahoma.
Or maybe the most remarkable aspect was the running back’s ability to find small seams even though the offensive line mostly struggled to open up holes against a good Sooners front.
“Sometimes we don't even block it the right way, he just finds a way where he can bounce back outside and drop his pads and just run through people,” head coach Charlie Strong said last week. “But he is special and he's really an outstanding player.”
Against Iowa State, it was more of the same, with Foreman showing an increased capacity for handling a large volume of carries by once again setting his career high with 30 attempts.
On the field, the Longhorns head coach cited Foreman’s ability to pick up necessary yardage “because he’s not going to stop until he does.” Off the field, it’s more of the same.
“He's a guy that works very hard, he carries himself the right way, does everything you ask him to do and is such a competitor,” said Strong.
Add humility to the lengthy list of attributes — when asked being mentioned among the Texas greats at the position, Foreman demurred.
“I just go out there and play hard,” Foreman said last week. “I do what I'm asked to do and that's to go out there and just lead and I feel like I've been doing that. I have to continue to get better each and every day. Every time I got out on the field I want to improve. I want to be better. I want to have a better performance than the game I had before.”
Foreman still uses his the recruiting process as motivation — he didn’t receive as many offers are his more highly-rated twin brother, but showed some early signs that he would work harder.
On Monday, head coach Charlie Strong recounted the story of how he went to Texas City to meet with the Foreman brothers late in the recruiting process as he attempted to keep him in the 2014 class.
D’Onta was there early waiting for Strong, but Armanti was late. At that point, Strong knew that he might have some issues with the wide receiver as he gained some insight into how the running back went about his business.
Less than three years later, Armanti is a productive pass catcher, but Foreman is one of the top ball carriers in the country as he moves up draft boards:
Every team wants the perfect blend of power and speed in the NFL draft. Enter the biggest RB sleeper of 2017, D'Onta Foreman pic.twitter.com/XaAIf7SzzI— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) October 14, 2016
Strong called Foreman the team’s best player on Monday and it’s now clear that he’s also the team’s best draft-eligible prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft, so be sure to enjoy what will likely be his last few games in burnt orange.
By the time Texas plays Kansas may be poised to become the most consistent running back in Longhorns history.
Not bad for a former low three-star prospect.