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The story behind former Texas RB D’Onta Foreman’s poor eating habits

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So much Popeye’s. So much ranch.

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After rushing for over 2,000 yards during the 2016 season for the Texas Longhorns, running back D’Onta Foreman asked himself a question he’d been avoiding for some time.

“I was comfortable at 240, 245 — I rushed for 2,000 [yards] at that weight. I [thought], what could I be if I was smaller than that?”

While checking in at 237 pounds at the Texas Pro Day on Tuesday, Foreman demonstrated that the answer to that question is that he could become — has become — the fastest running back at more than 230 pounds to enter the NFL Draft since at least 2003, according to NFL Combine data, after running a 4.45 40-yard dash.

At one point, Foreman had lost about 16 pounds thanks to major changes in his diet, including giving up his favorite meal at Popeye’s — fried chicken with a biscuit. Assuming that he would eat a two-piece spicy without a side, that meal accounts for 890 calories and 56 grams of fat.

D'Onta Foreman demonstrates how to earn some Popeye's

At 230 pounds, D'Onta Foreman ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at the Texas Pro Day. His reward to himself? His favorite meal at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

Posted by Burnt Orange Nation on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Now Foreman admits that he simply didn’t listen to the Texas nutritionists.

“The Texas nutrition staff educated and advised me on what to eat, but it was on me to put that plan into action,” Foreman said in a recent piece for Men’s Health. “They were always on me about my diet, but with so much on my plate in addition to football, I didn’t have the time or resources to devote to make substantial changes to my diet.”

In the past, the big running back had created something of an uproar when he suggested that he wasn’t told what to eat at Texas.

The real problems were that he didn’t know how to cook, grabbed fast meals in the school cafeteria without much thought into what he was eating, and had to pay everything else out of pocket.

“After games or just after practice, I'd just go eat whatever I wanted to eat, and it was hard to eat healthy because I had so much success even doing the wrong things,” he said on Tuesday.

And the ranch. So much ranch.

“I said something wrong in an interview earlier, but honestly, Ms. Amy [Culp, Texas Sports Dietician], she helped me out a lot with telling me to eat better during team meals,” Foreman said. “She always told me, 'Stop the ranch, you eat too much ranch.' But it was just so hard for me to stop because I had so much success.”

With the help of the training team at EXOS, Foreman now eats mostly salmon with mixed veggies, brown rice, and a piece of bacon, having pushed back his first trip to Popeye’s after he couldn’t run at the Combine.

He planned on having some Tuesday, but it was because he had earned it — not because he wanted to grab something fast on the run.

For the Longhorns program moving forward, it’s clear that the accountability preached by head coach Tom Herman and his staff will have a chance to work if it is ultimately the players who are held responsible for being out of shape.

For the previous staff, much like it was for Foreman, it was easy to let some things slide if the production was there on the field.

In the past, it was the nutritionists or the academic support staff that would get criticized for poor conditioning or poor grades.

However, as Herman has made abundantly clear already, that is no longer the case, which means that all personnel associated with Texas football receive the proper amount of support and the players get punished for their own failures.

At long last, Foreman is on the right track and perhaps the program as a whole is, too.