Ever since he was a boy in Texas City, D’Onta Foreman dreamed about the moment — the one that occurred at about 3:15 p.m. Wednesday — when he’d be sitting in front of a microphone at a press conference declaring for the NFL Draft.
The announcement Wednesday afternoon that Foreman would forego his senior year at Texas to pursue professional football surely came to the dismay of many Longhorns football fans, but he can hardly be blamed for taking hold of his lifelong dream now that it was finally in grasp.
He’s coming off a season where he rushed for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns on 323 carries in 11 games, making him college football’s leading rusher this year and giving him one of the greatest seasons for a running back in the storied history of the Texas football program.
With more than half of his carries and nearly 1,200 of his yards coming in the final five games of the season, it would be nearly impossible for Foreman’s NFL Draft stock to get any higher.
“Strike while the iron’s hot; that’s how I feel,” Foreman said.
Faced with the options of either taking a pounding at the running back position for a free college education or taking a harder pounding for millions of dollars, Foreman made the most rational choice. He also was equally logical when asked about the NFL team for which he’d prefer to play.
“To be honest, anybody who wants to give me some money,” Foreman said with a grin, drawing a big pop of laughter from reporters in attendance at Wednesday’s press conference.
But a clear choice should not be confused with an easy choice.
In announcing his decision, Foreman acknowledged the support of his teammates (among them, twin brother Armanti), coaches and the Texas community — all of whom he said helped him grow up as a man as well as a football player during his three years in Austin.
“It was really tough to know that the TCU game was my last game playing with my brother,” Foreman said. “We played together our whole lives. I was very emotional after the game. I cried on more than one occasion.”
While also noting the team’s recent coaching change did not affect his decision to turn pro, Foreman said new Texas head coach Tom Herman encouraged him to stay for his senior season, and he also was aware that he could be a great asset to next year’s team.
Helping settle the struggle involved in making Wednesday’s decision was getting the blessing of his lifelong teammate Armanti, who is expected to stay at Texas while D’Onta moves on to his life’s next chapter in a new city.
“It was always a dream of ours, so I wasn’t going to hold him back,” Armanti Foreman said. “I want him to go out and live his dream. We have to become men. We can’t stay together for the rest of our lives. We knew separation was going to come one day. It’s sooner than we thought, but nothing can break the bond that we have.”