5 Reasons Texas Football RB D’Onta Foreman Will Not Win the Heisman Trophy

Oct 29, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns running back D’Onta Foreman (33) runs against Baylor Bears safety Chance Waz (18) and linebacker Travon Blanchard (48) at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Texas beat Baylor 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

There is no better running back in college football right now than D’Onta Freeman. He has been the driving force for Texas football all season long and distinguished himself as the most prolific rusher in the nation. His success has jumpstarted a Heisman campaign for the junior. However, as deserving as Foreman might be, a Heisman Trophy is not going to happen.

First and foremost, Foreman deserves to be in the conversation. He is having a historically good season right now, rushing for 1.446 yards and 13 touchdowns in eight games, averaging 7.0 yards per carry. His 180.8 yards per game is the highest average in the nation as he’s rushed for more than 100 yards in 10 straight games. That puts him one game away from the Texas record held by Earl Campbell. He can tie that record this S

Last week, he put on his best performance to date. Foreman shredded Texas Tech for 341 yards and three touchdowns and likely should have broken the single-game Texas record of 350 yards if he had gotten another carry or two. That dominant performance inspired a social media campaign to get Foreman included in the Heisman conversation. The hashtag #ForemanforHeisman has become a very common sight on Twitter. Foreman’s certainly done enough on the field to deserve consideration.

However, sometimes the Heisman is decided by more than on-field performance. Despite his exceptional play, Foreman is on the outside looking in for the Heisman race. Here are five reasons D’Onta Foreman will not win the 2016 Heisman Trophy.

Oct 15, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns running back D’Onta Foreman (33) runs the ball against the Iowa State Cyclones during the second quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

It takes a great deal of time and effort to craft a proper Heisman campaign. With only three games remaining, Foreman is way behind and short on time to make up ground.

When you look at some of the other Heisman contenders, they have been putting their best foot forward building a resume all season long. They have had marquee games with marquee performances to build up hype towards securing a spot in New York City.

Foreman has been putting in great work all season, of course, but he hasn’t had the eyes of Heisman voters on him. Sure, they could go back and watch his former games but they won’t. Even if they did, though, they wouldn’t have the same impact. Most of Foreman’s Heisman push will come from these final three games and that’s not much of a resume to go off of.

Foreman remains one of the most overlooked talents in college football. That continues to be a hindrance and will ultimately cost him his spot in the Heisman race.

Nov 5, 2016; Lubbock, TX, USA; University of Texas Longhorns running back D’Onta Foreman (33) is chased by Texas Tech Red Raiders defensive back Paul Banks III (28) in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium. UT defeated Texas Tech 45-37. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

When a player makes a run at the Heisman, they are not only judged by what they have done or what their team and their conference are doing. Unfortunately for Foreman, the Big 12 has seen their reputation take a serious nose-dive in 2016.

As of now, the Big 12 is likely the worst Power 5 conference. Oklahoma leads the conference but already has two losses in non-conference play. That means they have slim to no shot of getting a spot in the College Football Playoff which makes them an afterthought when it comes to postseason awards, like the Heisman.

On top of that, the Big 12 has a reputation for bad defense. Kansas State is the No. 1 defense in the conference, and they’re No. 55 overall in FBS. Half of the conference is No. 98 or worse in total defense. That leads to the perception that offensive stats are “inflated” going up against these porous defenses. Even as impressive as Foreman has been, there’s a sense of “yeah, but” because of the defenses he’s doing it against.

That’s all out of Foreman’s control, of course, and isn’t exactly fair to him. However, the overall struggles and tarnished brand of the Big 12 is a major hurdle for any Heisman campaign.

Sep 4, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns running back D’Onta Foreman (33) scores a touchdown during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Heisman Trophy has been dominated by the quarterback position in recent history. Playing running back, Foreman faces a serious bias in trying to build a probable Heisman campaign.

Since Ricky Williams won the Heisman in 1998, only three other running backs have won the award. By comparison, 13 quarterbacks have won the Heisman since Williams. Only Ron Dayne in 1999, Mark Ingram in 2009, and Derrick Henry in 2015 have been able to interrupt the run of QBs winning the Heisman.

The difference, however, is that those running backs enjoyed historical seasons in conferences with reputations for tough defense. Foreman is on pace to break the Texas single-season rushing record, for sure, but as mentioned before, the Big 12 is not helping his case. On top of that, this season has a number of viable quarterback candidates that will further diminish Foreman’s hopes.

There is a clear bias against running backs in the Heisman voting. Fair or not (it’s not), that works hard against Foreman in this race.

Sep 17, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; Texas Longhorns running back D’Onta Foreman (33) runs the ball for a touchdown against the California Golden Bears in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium. Cal won 50-43. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Heisman Trophy is intended to go to the best individual player in the nation, but there’s undoubtedly a team element to the award. Almost exclusively, the Heisman goes to a player that is on a team winning a lot of games. At 5-4, that’s simply just not Texas this season.

The Longhorns are hovering just above .500 and are effectively out of the Big 12 title race. That makes them a bit of an afterthought, including when it comes to postseason awards. It’s difficult for a player who is not playing for a team in contention for a conference title or the CFP to garner the momentum to win the Heisman.

On top of that, the games that Texas has lost this season have been their “big” games. Sure, they opened the season with a win over Notre Dame, but the Irish have fallen apart this season. They also defeated Baylor, but the Bears seem to have enjoyed a quick start against a soft schedule, losing two straight. But against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State, Texas has come up short. Foreman has not, of course, but the team has.

While the losses are assuredly not on Foreman or his effort, he bears the burden of their losses in his Heisman campaign. The reality, unfortunately, is that Foreman needed Texas to win more games this season if he hoped to bring home the Heisman.

Nov 5, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) rolls out of the pocket during the second quarter against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Some years, it’s just one person’s award to lose. This year, that player seems to be Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. As good as Foreman has been, the Jackson Heisman hype is likely insurmountable.

This season, the sophomore QB has taken the college football world by storm. He’s accounted for 3,934 yards of total offense, including 1,181 on the ground, and accounting for 45 touchdowns. He put on a Heisman-worthy show against Florida State earlier this season when he went off for 362 yards and five touchdowns in a 63-20 beatdown. Plus, his team is still in the mix for the CFP.

His high-profile play has given him a huge head start in this Heisman race. If he can maintain his level of play and avoid injury, Jackson is likely going to walk away with the race this year. Everyone else is going to be playing for second place at this pace. That’s great for Jackson, of course, but bad news for other contenders like Foreman.

Sometimes, it’s just not your year. 2016 appears to be Jackson’s year. As great as Foreman has been and as deserving as he is of Heisman consideration, this just doesn’t seem to be the year for phenomenal Texas back.

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