Could this year be the first time since 1998-99 that running backs have hoisted the Heisman in consecutive seasons?Well, Lamar Jackson will have a lot to say against that, but Texas running back D’Onta Foreman has catapulted into the late-season race and gives his positional group one of its best chances at earning the hardware.
Foreman landed right in the thick of the Heisman discussion three weeks ago when he ran wild for 250 yards in the Longhorns’ top 10 upset win over then-No. 8 and undefeated Baylor. He followed up that stellar performance with a 341-yard, three-touchdown spectacle against Texas Tech.
So when Foreman came out in Texas’ latest matchup against West Virginia in Week 11, it was just another walk in the park with 199 yards from scrimmage.
While this recent sample size has been particularly jaw-dropping, it’s been Foreman’s season-long consistency that’s the most impressive. The junior back has rushed for at least 124 yards in each of the nine games he’s played. His current 11-game streak of at least 100 yards on the ground ties Longhorns legend Earl Campbell for the longest in program history.
Part of the reason why he’s been so productive this year is his reliability to be in the huddle on virtually every play and every drive. The bruising back is averaging 26 carries a game and his 241 total attempts rank fourth in the nation. No other Longhorn has more than 79 attempts – which quarterback Shane Buechele has accumulated (including all sacks against him).
More and more college football teams are moving toward dual-running back systems where two or three rushers split carries to stay fresh and avoid wearing down. This is especially true when it comes to bigger running backs, who typically need some breathers over the course of a game.
But that’s not the case with the 6-1, 249-pound Foreman.
The workhorse has already more than doubled his carries from last year (95) and has only grown stronger as the season has progressed. He has a great eye for openings and a lightning quick cutback ability; not to mention, with his size, he can physically outmatch any defender in his way.
Just take a look at some of the film so far from Foreman’s special season:
To put Foreman’s numbers in perspective, he has 359 more yards than 2015 Heisman winner Derrick Henry had for Alabama last year through their first nine games of action. He’s second in the FBS this season with 1,613 rushing yards and leads all running backs with at least 200 carries in yards per attempt (6.7).
Foreman continues to gain ground in the Heisman conversation and can only strengthen his case over the Longhorns’ final two regular season games against rather soft defenses in Kansas and TCU. He’s tallied more than 30 carries in each of the past three weeks and will surely continue to be the centerpiece of Texas’ offense as it looks to finish a respectable 7-5 and obtain its first bowl bid since 2014.
Lamar Jackson is certainly still the frontrunner for the award, and for good reason with the unprecedented numbers he’s putting up at Louisville. But after him, with other top candidates like Jake Browning and Deshaun Watson having their fair share of struggles in disappointing Week 11 losses, there are some sizable openings for who will make the trip to New York next month.
And just like he does so consistently with the holes created by his offensive line on Saturdays, Foreman will look to take full advantage of the opening between him and a shot at the Heisman.
- Week 1: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson
- Week 2: Washington QB Jake Browning
- Week 3: Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
- Week 4: Michigan LB/WR Jabrill Peppers
- Week 5: North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky
- Week 6: Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
- Week 7: San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey
- Week 8: Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
- Week 9: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield
- Week 10: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (Part II)