Junior running back D’Onta Foreman will forego his senior season and enter the 2017 NFL Draft, Foreman told reporters on Wednesday. Foreman, a Doak Walker Award finalist, Heisman candidate and holder of the Texas record for most consecutive games played with over 100 rushing yards leaves Texas after rushing for 2782 yards and 20 touchdowns in three seasons, including rushing for 2028 yards in 11 games during his junior season.
“I just want everybody to know that I will forego my senior season,” Foreman said. “I will head to the NFL draft in a few months.”
Foreman took the opportunity to thank all those who had helped him along the way at Texas, including some of the people who convinced him to step foot on the Forty Acres.
“I want to thank Coach [Mack] Brown, Coach [Charlie] Strong, Coach Tommie Robinson and Coach [Anthony] Johnson for giving me the opportunity to play here at the wonderful University of Texas,” Foreman said. “It’s been extremely good to me. I love everyone. I love my teammates. They’ve been tremendously supportive to me. I was able to grow as a man as well as a football player here in my three years.”
Foreman and his twin brother, Armanti, came to Texas as members of the 2014 recruiting class, the first class brought in by former head coach Charlie Strong. At the time, Armanti was the more sought after and higher rated recruit, with many thinking that D’Onta was the brother that came as part of a package deal.
In his first season at Texas, Foreman saw action in seven games, rushing 15 times for 73 yards. In 2015, Foreman began the season behind Johnathan Gray, but eventually began to receive more carries as he grew more effective and Gray’s effectiveness faded.
In his sophomore year, Foreman’s breakout game came in Fort Worth against TCU, where he was able to run for 112 yards on 18 carries. Foreman became the feature back in Jay Norvell’s offense in 2015. Foreman had two memorable carries, one for 81 yards against Oklahoma and a touchdown run for 93 yards against Kansas. Both will be seen on highlights celebrating No. 33 for years to come.
In former offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert’s 2016 offense, Foreman began the season receiving most of the carries but still sharing the workload with sophomore Chris Warren III. Foreman sat out against UTEP, and returned with a strong 21-carry, 157-yard performance against Cal.
After Warren was sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury, Foreman became the go-to back in the offense, continuing to rush for 100 yards game after game.
As the season went on, Foreman seemed to run harder and harder even though his body was taking a serious pounding. He rushed for 250 yards on 32 carries in a victory over No. 8 Baylor. He followed that career high performance by setting a new career high, rushing for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns on 33 carries, including a 74-yard touchdown run with only one shoe on. Foreman’s 341 yards were the third most all-time in a game by a Longhorn runner, and he joined Ricky Williams and Roosevelt Leaks as the only Longhorns to rush for 300 yards in a game.
Following Texas Tech, Foreman rushed for 167 yards against West Virginia, followed by 250 yards on a school-record 51 carries against Kansas and 165 yards against TCU.
Foreman’s 2028 yards are the second-most in a single season at Texas, trailing only Ricky Williams’ 2124 yards during his Heisman campaign in 1998. Foreman’s 2728 career rushing yards place him eighth all-time at Texas, trailing other Longhorn greats in Leaks, Vince Young, Chris Gilbert, Jamaal Charles, Earl Campbell, Cedric Benson and Williams.
“Coming to this place, like Coach AJ would always tell us when he first got here, is that we’re chasing ghosts,” Foreman said. “Those guys came through here and laid the foundation. We’ve just try to go and make our own way. To be mentioned with those guys and be able to go to the NFL and live out my dream, it’s amazing. I can’t really explain how I feel.”
With his career at Texas now behind him, Foreman now looks forward to the NFL draft in April. Foreman announced he has not hired an agent yet, but has a good idea of who he plans to sign on with.
There does remain one goal of Foreman’s he wants to cross off before he hears his name called in April.
“I really want to win the Doak at least,” Foreman said. “Possibly the Heisman if they feel the same way. I really want to win the Doak Walker Award. I feel like it would be great for our team and the backs in the running back room as something to strive for.”
Foreman also mentioned how one of his first plans once he received NFL money would to take care of his family, especially his mother.
“Everything I ever needed, she was there for me like she’s supposed to be,” Foreman said. “I love her to death. Definitely my mom, take care of her, and my brother. He’s been with me every step of the way.”
When Foreman knew he had a chance at reaching the NFL, it was an opportunity he knew he could not pass up. Those record setting numbers were part of the reason Foreman decided to head to the professional ranks.
“I had a lot of carries this season,” Foreman said. “I had a wonderful season. I’m just striking when the iron’s hot. That’s how I feel.”
Foreman said he spoke with new head coach Tom Herman, and said Herman understood his decision telling Foreman “go with what you feel.”
The best part of Foreman’s time at Texas?
“Being here at the university,” Foreman said. “And being alongside my brother. He’s been so supportive of me. I came in and I wasn’t the biggest recruit. He had more offers and everything. He had more stars than me. Like I said, he’s been so supportive to me.”
Does Foreman have a team he would like to land with? Not necessarily.
“To be honest, anybody who will give me some money,” Foreman said.
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