Armanti Foreman arrived first that April morning in 1996. But D’Onta wasn’t too far behind. Twelve minutes, in fact. Armanti joined this world at 6:04 a.m., D’Onta, his twin brother, at 6:16., according to their mother, Shawn, who would know.
The twins grew up together, did everything together and became Friday night stars together in Texas City. It made sense that they would play college football together, too.
D’Onta remembers sitting in Mack Brown’s office with Major Applewhite. “They just kept talking to my brother, and I’m sitting there like, ‘OK,’” the younger Foreman said. “They said, we’re going to offer you. And I never got an offer.
“So we leave, and I was hurt. Honestly, I was hurt.”
That proved to be a real wake-up call for D’Onta, who wasn’t hitting the books as hard as he was high school defenders. But guess who was there, pushing, prodding and basically demanding that D’Onta get his academic house in order to join him at UT?
“Armanti always encouraged him. He was like, ‘Bro, you gotta get up here,” said their father, Darreck.
The Foreman brothers are now key pieces of the Texas football program, and both will get their chances on Saturday against Kansas State (3-3 overall, 0-3 in Big 12). Looks like it’ll be a wet one, which favors the running game, Just how D’Onta likes it.
UT fans got a glimpse of their bond two weeks ago during the Oklahoma game. Sure, D’Onta’s 81-yard, third-quarter run was big. But what happened after the play was far more special.
With a smart pursuit angle, OU’s Zack Sanchez flashed terrific closing speed to catch D’Onta and push him out of bounds. Lorenzo Joe and Caleb Bluiett were there celebrating. But here comes Armanti Foreman, helping his brother to his feet.
ABC cameras caught Armanti jumping into the air, kicking his legs out and showing genuine excitement. Then, just before the commercial break, there was Armanti again, with his arm around D’Onta. The two were walking, Armanti slapping D’Onta’s chest.
Forget the run. That moment afterward is the one those two will remember forever.
“At the end of that quarter, I’m watching them walking down the field and Armanti is hugging him, I see these two little boys walking off the field as Little Leaguers,” said Darreck Foreman, the twins’ father. “It brings tears to my eyes.”
An enterprising UT fan took a screen grab of the moment and sent the picture to Armanti, who knew exactly what to do. Get a tattoo. Not just any tattoo, though. One that stretched all across his back.
Four days after the OU game, the twins landed in an Austin tattoo shop, spending $150 each to get the moment inked on their backs. Their mother, who always warned about the permanency of tattoos, was shocked.
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“I got Armanti’s photo first, and I was blown away,” Shawn Smith said. “I think it was like 1 o’clock in the morning. I just didn’t expect that. It was a proud moment. Then, I went back to sleep, and D’Onta’s picture came through about 3 a.m. or something. I woke up about 5, saw that and I ran around the house.
“It was very, very nice. That was my real reaction.”
Armanti had the artist tattoo his last name across his shoulders. D’Onta had the words “My Brother’s Keeper” etched around the photo.
“I just know everything that picture means,” D’Onta said. “It was just big. And the conversation we were having walking back to the other side of the field, you could just see it in our face how much love we have for each other and how much we care about each other. It was something I couldn’t pass up.”
Texas RB D'Onta Foreman showed reporters the back tattoo he got alongside his brother Armanti. pic.twitter.com/ejZHPCDWhl
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There’s a perception that D’Onta was somehow behind Armanti athletically in school. The Foremans all dispute that. “He didn’t have to work that much harder,” Shawn Smith said.
It’s likely a narrative solidified by the recruiting process, they believe.
Both players made the varsity as high school freshmen, a rare feat for 14-year-olds. Armanti was the receiver who made more flashy plays, D’Onta said. The running back had to wait his turn on the depth chart. D’Onta rattled off a list of high school achievements and said, “I did it all!”
“I wouldn’t say I’m the leader; we do basically the same things,” Armanti said earlier this season. “We just basically try to lead each other in the right directions all the time, do what’s best for each other, tell each other the rights things.”
Armanti first got offered by Oklahoma. D’Onta’s grades kept Texas and others from offering him right away. When D’Onta scored higher on his second attempt at the SAT, that’s when the dual offers came pouring in — including one for D’Onta from Brown and the Longhorns.
“Mack told me, ‘Darreck, I know it took us a little while to offer D’Onta, but I really think we got a steal with this kid,’” Darreck Foreman said. “Other teams are going to be upset they didn’t offer this kid.”
Armanti had a 32-yard touchdown catch against Rice in Week 2. He’s had 10 catches total all season. To be fair, nobody’s running away with the receiving statistics. UT’s passing game hasn’t worked nearly as well as the run.
D’Onta will be shooting for his third straight 100-yard rushing day against the Wildcats, who have the best run defense in the Big 12. K-State allows only 126.3 rushing yards per game.
If the Foreman twins becomes stars at UT like they were at Texas City, the Longhorns will have a dynamic pair of playmakers.
“They have a true bond that no one can ever break,” Smith said. “They are their brother’s keeper and they are their own best friends.”