D’Onta Foreman remembers everything about his junior day visit to Austin. How could he forget?
Sitting with his family — including his twin brother, Armanti — Foreman listened as Texas head coach Mack Brown told him he wasn’t good enough to play for the Longhorns.
“He was just telling my brother how great of a player he was, and how they wanted him to be a part of the team and all that stuff, and what they would do with him in situations,” Foreman said. “I was just sitting there, like kind of waiting for him to tell me what he liked about me. He pretty much told me, ‘You’re a good player, D’Onta, but your brother’s a game-changer.’ That’s really what he told me. I kind of took it personal at first, and I really wasn’t big on Texas after that conversation. I guess they just really wanted to see how fast I was. They pretty much told me, ‘If you run a 4.4 at our summer camp, [we’ll offer you],’ and I did that.”
I was never the feature back. … I guess I was excited for it because I had never done it before. So I wanted to kind of see what it would be like to be the feature. I made the best of my opportunity with it.
D’Onta Foreman on his Texas career
The Longhorns had only six players drafted the past three years, with five of those in 2015. Defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway was the program’s only draftee last year, going in the fourth round to the Indianapolis Colts.
Foreman still has hopes of being a first-round pick. Some draft boards have him as high as the second round, but CBS Sportsline draft analyst Dane Brugler rates Foreman as the 10th-best running back and a fourth-round prospect.
“He is an imposing runner with his size and build and the type of ball carrier that forces defenders to think for a split-second before attacking him,” Brugler said. “Foreman runs low to the ground with the forward momentum to carry defenders the final few yards, but his game is primarily predicated on power and toughness, lacking elusive open-field moves. While capable of being a workhorse in the NFL, Foreman doesn’t have a true distinguishing trait and is ideally suited for a backfield committee as a change-up ball carrier to a scatback.”
Thus, Foreman isn’t likely to lose the chip on his shoulder.
Foreman, a three-star prospect, was a throw-in with Armanti, a four-star prospect. D’Onta received only five offers, including only four from Power Five schools. Once at UT, he had only 110 carries his first two seasons and was expected to share backfield duties in 2016.
But Foreman got his chance and quickly proved his worth.
That’s two of the biggest questions: How fast is he and can he catch out of the backfield?That’s something I really want to show.
He had never had more than 18 carries in a game his first two seasons. Last season, he had only two games with fewer. He had never had more than 21 carries in a single game in his career, and that came in high school. He had 24 in the season opener against Notre Dame and had no fewer than 31 in any of the Longhorns’ last five games, including 51 against Kansas.
“I was never the feature back,” Foreman said. “ … I guess I was excited for it because I had never done it before. So I wanted to kind of see what it would be like to be the feature. I made the best of my opportunity with it.”
Indeed, Foreman rushed for 2,028 yards, the second-most in school history, and scored 15 touchdowns on 323 carries. He did lose six fumbles, but some of those were attributed to playing through a broken pinkie finger.
Foreman weighed 233 pounds at the combine while training at EXOS in Pensacola, Fla., down 16 from his listed weight last season, and he plans to run fast Friday.
He faces more doubters.
“That’s two of the biggest questions: How fast is he and can he catch out of the backfield?” Foreman said. “That’s something I really want to show.”