Junior running back D’Onta Foreman took a handoff in the fourth quarter of the Longhorns’ matchup against California in week three.
The 6-foot-1 and 249-pound back wiggled through a gap and then exploded up the middle for a 47-yard touchdown to give Texas a 39-35 lead. The play marked just another highlight-reel run for Foreman, who specialized in big plays with runs of 93, 81 and 65 yards last season.
Still, despite his big start to the season — Foreman has rushed for 288 yards in just two appearances — he feels he’s not getting the respect he’s owed.
“I still feel like to this day I don’t get the credit I want or some people say I deserve,” Foreman said. “I might as well get a tattoo with a chip on my shoulder.”
And while Foreman struggles to garner national attention — NFLDraftScout.com ranks him the No. 74 running back for the class of 2018 — the Longhorns can’t overlook their star running back.
Foreman has a special knack for churning out yards. The back outplayed starting running back Johnathan Gray last season, averaging 7.2 yards per carry compared to Gray’s four yards per attempt. Now in the starter role, he’s picked up where he left off with 6.4 yards per carry and two touchdowns.
Texas’ schedule is set to heat up. The team heads to Stillwater, Oklahoma, this weekend to play Oklahoma State, while matchups against Oklahoma and Baylor loom later in October.
Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele has done an admirable job leading the Longhorns offense through three weeks. But growing pains might be ahead for the freshman as teams accumulate more game tape on him and Texas plays tougher opponents.
“By no means do we have a veteran quarterback,” offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert said.
But instead of handing the ball off on a critical drive in the waning minutes against California, head coach Charlie Strong went a different route. Texas called three pass plays down 50–43 with 3:34 to play, netting zero yards before punting back to California, who ran out the rest of the clock.
Foreman, who racked up 157 yards on 7.5 yards per carry on the game, was left to watch.
“The coaches knew what they were doing and they had a plan,” senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes.
The coaches can’t forget about Foreman going forward. The back has been Texas’ most productive player over the past two seasons. And although Texas has a variety of playmakers, he needs to get the ball — especially in crucial situations.
“Like I always say, it starts with the running backs,” Foreman said. “That’s just me saying that we set the tempo. That’s my position so I feel that way. Just making sure everyone’s on the right pace, make sure we don’t have those same mistakes that we had in our previous game. I feel like that’s the biggest thing right now.”
Foreman currently ranks No. 5 all-time among Texas rushers in efficiency with 6.8 yards per carry. Playing for one of the nation’s most well-watched programs, he’s bound to steal the national spotlight if keeps up his current pace.
But for now, the Longhorns — who know his potential better than anyone — need to feed him like he’s the best in the business.
“I don’t feel like people look at me like I’m one of the best,” Foreman said. “I’ll never be complacent. I always feel like I got something to prove and I’ll play like that every game.”