UT running back D'Onta Foreman exits the field after fumbling the ball against Texas Tech in the second quarter at AT&T Jones Stadium in Lubbock Saturday November 5, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Cedric Golden

American-Statesman Staff

Column

Golden: D’Onta Foreman’s decision to jump to the NFL was a no-brainer

Texas Longhorns

Posted November 30th, 2016

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Story highlights
  • D'Onta Foreman announced his intention to turn pro Wednesday
  • Foreman rushed for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns this season
  • Foreman had 446 touches at Texas
  • Foreman on where he wants to play: "For anybody who will give me some money."

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D’Onta Foreman ran over, through and past every opponent he faced this season.

But he saved his best move for last.

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Taking his talents to the NFL was a no-brainer. When he told an assembled crowd of media and Texas teammates of his intentions Wednesday, I’m going to guess to that not one person in the building was not on board with Foreman taking his talents to the next level.

Foreman had nothing left to prove in college. Besides, the tread on a running back wears a lot faster than those of other positions. He touched the ball 446 times at Texas. The next 446 should come with a paycheck attached.

What about the 2017 Heisman Trophy, you ask?

Sure, it’s a prestigious award, but it doesn’t put dinner on the table and it isn’t worth the risk of a major injury. Foreman has a special skill for which certain people at the highest level of the sport will spend truckloads of money to use. Those 2,028 rushing yards were far bigger than a résumé builder. They were his résumé.

“I wanted to strike while the iron was hot,” Foreman said.

Texas D’onta Foreman speaks about leaving The University of Texas for the NFL Draft during a press conference at the University of Texas. D’onta Foreman finished his junior year with FBS-high 2,028 yards. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Texas D’onta Foreman speaks about leaving The University of Texas for the NFL Draft during a press conference at the University of Texas. D’onta Foreman finished his junior year with FBS-high 2,028 yards.
RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Foreman knew this day was coming some time in the middle of the season when it became clear that he was having a special year. He finished with a school-record 13 straight 100-yard rushing performances. Dude was spitting out 100s at such a rapid rate, they should have changed the name on the back of his jersey from Foreman to Franklin.

Speaking of those stanky Ben Frankies, Foreman got a laugh when he was asked which team he preferred to play for next fall.

“To be honest, anybody that wanna give me some money.”

No need to worry. The money will come because Foreman has a skill set and a chip-on-my-shoulder demeanor that will translate well to the NFL. He’s one of the pass-protecting running backs in the college game, a skill that’s a prerequisite for playing time in the pros, particularly for a rookie.

As for speed, he’s not a burner by any stretch. But if he runs between 4.5 and 4.65 in the NFL scouting combine in February, he’ll go in the second or third round. For those who worry about this deep draft class of backs, be advised that one need not be a first-round pick to make big bucks. Tennessee drafted Alabama’s Derrick Henry in the second round of 2016 and Henry signed a four-year, $5.4 million deal that came with $3.3 million guaranteed and a sweet signing bonus of just over $2.1 million.

Foreman had to go because he’s on the same level with LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey.

Foreman is NFL-ready. He will make some pro team very happy. Just make sure the check clears.

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