Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk isn’t backing down.
The junior from Temple High School who told the Sporting News in December that he’d win the Heisman Trophy in 2013 doesn’t regret the proclamation.
“Why should I regret it? Do y’all want me to take it back?” Seastrunk asked Tuesday at Big 12 media days at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas.
“People always mistake my confidence for cockiness,” he said. “I don’t get that. I’m a very humble person. Really I’m focused on winning the Big 12 championship and going to the national championship. If I somehow fall into that accolade and get it, so be it.”
His coach and teammates weren’t fazed by the bold statement. In fact, coach Art Briles and safety Ahmad Dixon think it’s good for the team. The Bears are coming off an 8-5 season in which they won five of their last six games, including a 49-26 victory over UCLA in the Holiday Bowl.
“I loved it,” Dixon said. “Why not do it? Why not give us some more exposure; why not give people another reason to come watch us? I honestly feel like he can do that. There’s no doubt in my mind, no ifs, ands or buts about it. I feel Lache Seastrunck can win the Heisman. Not can, but will.”
Seastrunk said he shrugged off the Internet invectives directed at him in the wake of his comments. Seastrunk rushed for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns despite limited playing time early in the season and was named the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year. He left Oregon after redshirting his freshman season in 2010.
“People are going to be negative; they’re always going to have their negative comments, but only God can judge what I say,” he said, invoking a Bible reference as his inspiration. “If I believe it in my heart and confess it with my mouth it’s going to happen. Speak it into existence.”
His teammates have supported him, he said, and took the boasts in stride.
“My linemen, for example, supported me,” he said. “They said, fine, we’re going to try to lead you there. It’s a team effort.”
He’s quick to credit his offensive line for his success last season. He was selected as the preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year last week.
“I got over 1,000 yards but that’s just because how my offensive line and wide receivers did their jobs so it was all sort of a blessing,” he said. “If I didn’t have the offensive line I have, or the receivers blocking downfield, I wouldn’t even be here [at Big 12 media days]. I’d be home watching.”
One of those offensive linemen, Cyril Richardson from North Crowley High School, thought the Heisman comments were funny, knowing Seastrunk’s personality.
“He’s a really hard-working person,” Richardson said. “He told me that if he can’t say it then it won’t come into existence. So if he does that, he can be the best that he can be.”
Seastrunk insists that having the Heisman as a personal goal doesn’t distract from the overriding goal to win the Big 12 and earn a shot at the national title.
“Even if I don’t have the opportunity to achieve my personal goals, at least [the seniors] would get what they deserve,” Seastrunk said before hammering home his Heisman hopes. “I know I can win it through my team because I have all the keys to success. I have the great line, I have the great receivers, I have the great defense. Why not?”