It’s not the Heisman, but outgoing junior D’Onta Foreman joined elite company at Texas last night after he was named the 2016 Doak Walker Award winner, awarded annually to the best running back in college football. Foreman is the third Longhorn to win the award since its inception in 1990, joining Ricky Williams (1998 and 1999) and Cedric Benson (2004).
“It means a lot to win the same award that Ricky and Cedric won,” Foreman said, at the College Football Awards, presented at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. “To be up there with those guys, to be a part of that running back club, it’s something I always dreamed about. To be there with those elite running backs and be able to do that, it means a lot to me and my family.”
Initially splitting time with sophomore Chris Warren III, Foreman handled almost the entire backfield workload for the 5-7 Longhorns down the stretch, rushing for a nation-high 2,028 yards in just 11 games. He’s just the second rusher in Texas history to break the 2,000-yard mark, joining Williams (1998).
Foreman beat out two other finalists: San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey and Florida State’s Dalvin Cook. Pumphrey led the nation in rushing until Foreman overtook him late in the season, eventually finishing with 2,018 yards on the ground. Cook’s 1,620 yards helped the Seminoles to a 9-3 record in 2016.
“I definitely did,” Foreman said, when asked if he had any doubts about winning the award. “You have two great guys. The competition was hard in there.”
The Texas City native came to UT in 2014 as part of a package deal with his twin brother, wide receiver Armanti. Coming out of high school, Armanti was the more sought after recruit, though D’Onta says his impending NFL status hasn’t changed their relationship.
“It meant a lot. I love my brother to death,” Foreman said of Armanti’s presence as the running back’s college career comes to a close. “Even when I didn’t get the recognition I feel like I deserved, he was always there. He told me one day I’d shock the world.”
Foreman leaves Texas as the No. 8 rusher in Texas history, behind such luminaries as Williams, Benson, Earl Campbell, Jamaal Charles, and Vince Young. His 13 straight 100-yard games broke Campbell’s record of 11, which stood for almost 40 years. Early reports have Foreman slotted as a second or third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“I want to put my name out into the world,” he said. “I want people to remember D’Onta Foreman.”
Photo courtesy Texas Athletics.
Cary Michael Cox:
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