By Steve Lansdale
AUSTIN, Texas — Another Texas running back is headed to the NFL, and in doing so, is going home.
D’Onta Foreman, the 2016 Doak Walker Award winner, was selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft when the Houston Texans chose him with the 89th overall pock. For Foreman, the choice means something of a homecoming, as Houston is less than 45 miles from his hometown of Texas City, Texas.
Foreman was drafted earlier than any UT running back since Jamaal Charles was chosen in the third round of the 2008 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. The last Texas running back to be drafted in any round was Chris Ogbonnaya, who was chosen in the seventh round of the 2009 draft by the then-St. Louis Rams.
Foreman ran for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2016, his junior season at Texas; his yards and average of 184.4 rushing yards per game were the most among FBS running backs across the country. He played in 28 games in three years in Austin, starting 10 (all in his junior season. His 2,782 career rushing yards are the ninth-highest total in school history, and he finished his college career with 20 rushing touchdowns. He ran for 100 or more yards 15 times, including in each of his last 13 games. He rushed for at least 150 yards in a game seven times, and 250 yards three times.
For all of his production, Foreman is guaranteed nothing in Houston. He joins a crowded backfield that is led by Lamar Miller, the team’s starter who has three years remaining on a four-year contract worth $26 million that he signed before the 2016 season. Among those joining Foreman and Miller are Alfred Blue, Akeem Hunt, Tyler Ervin and Kenny Hilliard.
Foreman is the 337th Longhorn drafted by an NFL team, and the first by the Texans since they selected defensive tackle Frank Okam in the fifth round of the 2008 draft.