Texas Longhorns: D'Onta Foreman

AUSTIN, Texas -- Charlie Strong's first freshman class at Texas is still missing three players.

While the rest of Texas' incoming freshmen enrolled at the start of June, running backs D'Onta Foreman and Kevin Shorter and defensive tackle Poona Ford have yet to join the program.

Ford, a defensive tackle from Hilton Head, South Carolina, is set to enroll for Texas' second summer session, according to Hilton Head coach B.J. Payne. Those classes begin July 14, and Payne said Ford is "all good" with his academics for qualifying.

There is greater concern about the status of the running back signees. Houston Eisenhower back Donald Catalon is already enrolled and on campus, but Foreman and Shorter both have work to do to get to Austin.

Shorter said he needs to take a TAKS standardized test and complete some online coursework before he can join the program. He was told he must to report to the team by Aug. 27.

"I have a few things to take care of then I'll be on my way," Shorter said.

The running back from Newton, Texas, suffered a bruised spinal cord in October that ended his senior season and put his playing career in jeopardy. Whenever he does join the program, Shorter will have to go through testing with UT doctors to determine if he'll be cleared to play again in 2014 and beyond.

There's more progress but less optimism in the case of Foreman, the Texas City, Texas, standout whose twin brother, Armanti Foreman, has already begun classes at UT.

Foreman is still waiting for a ruling from the NCAA clearinghouse, according to Texas City assistant coach Chase Fickessen. Foreman has submitted his paperwork and is hoping to hear back on qualifying before the July 14 session begins. If he does enroll in the summer, he'd likely need to take several summer classes at UT to maintain his eligibility.

If Foreman does not qualify, Texas would place him at a junior college this fall with the intention of eventually re-signing him.

Losing Foreman and Shorter would be a tough blow for Texas' depth at running back behind the veteran trio of Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron. Their top backups would presumably be Jalen Overstreet, who converted from quarterback to running back a year ago, and Catalon. Texas has already landed three verbal commitments from running backs for its 2015 recruiting class.

Texas signees anxious for big move

March, 31, 2014
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AUSTIN, Texas – Jerrod Heard has the date on his mind and on his calendar.

“June 3,” Heard said. “Then it’s showtime.”

The soon-to-be Texas quarterback was one of five Longhorns signees who returned to Austin to compete at the Texas Relays. It's one of his final visits before he makes the big move. It was a weekend off from a spring semester that can’t end soon enough. There are classes to complete and diplomas to collect, but the Texas campus is where they all want to be.

“It’s a teaser,” running back signee D’Onta Foreman said, “because we’re ready to graduate, ready to get up here and compete for a spot and be with our teammates and family for the next four years.”

[+] EnlargeJerrod Heard
Tom Hauck for Student SportsTexas signee Jerrod Heard worked out with quarterback guru George Whitfield on spring break.
It’s hard to appreciate in the heat of the annual January and February recruiting flurry, but the uncertainty of the coaching change couldn’t have been easy to navigate for Texas' commitments.

All five competing over the weekend -- Heard, Foreman, his twin brother Armanti Foreman, John Bonney and Donald Catalon -- committed to play for Mack Brown and watched that plan shatter in December. Charlie Strong rode in and inspired hope, but there was no way he could pick up all the pieces for these prospects in so little time.

Signing with Texas required patience, trust and, to some extent, a leap of faith. But they stuck with their pledges, and soon they’ll be back on the 40 Acres for good.

Heard is doing everything he can to prepare. He spent spring break in San Diego working with a handful of college quarterbacks with renowned quarterback coach George Whitfield.

The Denton Guyer star is dedicated to detail, and Whitfield is a pro at pointing out the little flaws. Heard is focused on improving his accuracy in any possible way, from how he holds the ball and bends his wrist to the balance in his legs.

“I think the smaller the things you can try to perfect, the more I can use my ability as a runner and thrower,” Heard said.

From an offensive standpoint, he’s comfortable with what’s coming next for Texas. At Guyer, he operated an offense that borrowed heavily from Oklahoma State’s concepts and playbook. That will make working under offensive coordinator Joe Wickline easier, and Heard likes the guru reputation that assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson brings.

As for how Strong is changing the Horns, Heard isn’t afraid of the head coach’s emphasis on discipline.

“That’s really going to mold us together. I’m all for it and really like it,” Heard said. “I think that’s why they’re starting out with the discipline, and I think that’s really going to change the team. We’re really going to shock a lot of people this year.”

Bonney has been able to witness the effects firsthand. By attending spring practice this month, the Houston Lamar safety received a clearer understanding of what it will be like to play for the new staff. One comment certainly got Bonney’s attention in his conversations with Strong.

“He says the defense is going to win the games this year for him,” Bonney said. “... That really struck a chord with me.”

Landing Bonney was a bit of a close call for Texas after he took official visits to Baylor and Auburn. Looking back, he said those trips were motivated by uncertainty. Watching defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and secondary coach Chris Vaughn in practice answered some of his biggest questions.

“They’re really cool,” Bonney said. “Coach Vaughn is more of a talker; he likes to coach you up that way, loves giving you visual things. Coach Bedford is so smart. It feels like he knows just about everything. I’ve been in meetings and his teaching film was real cool, real cerebral. You get the best of both worlds with those two.”

Bonney knows his best shot at playing in 2014 are on special teams and in nickel packages. Catalon doesn’t expect many carries as a backup to Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray, but the Houston Eisenhower back does hope to help out.

For him, sticking with Texas wasn’t a tough call. New running backs coach Tommie Robinson recruited Catalon while at USC. That familiarity made all the difference in staying put, and Strong sealed the deal.

“I like Coach Strong. He wants to win and he’s about business,” Catalon said. “The players they already have are good. It’s not like we have to rebuild. We just have to get to know the coaches.”

Armanti and D'Onta Foreman made the Texas coaches sweat in January when they nearly took a visit to Missouri, but the Texas City brothers say now they would’ve ended up in burnt orange no matter what.

They have big dreams for 2014. Armanti wants to play receiver and also line up on defense in certain packages, and he’d like a shot at returning kicks. D’Onta wants to stick at running back but is open to any position if that doesn’t work out. They want to contribute from Day 1.

They got to ponder these dreams again on Friday while playing pool in the players’ lounge at Texas’ football facility. Like the rest of the signees back in town, they took a chance on a program they’d long loved and a coach they hardly knew.

But they saw what he did at Louisville, and they know what needs to be done at Texas.

“I feel like he can come here and help us be a great team like that,” Armanti Foreman said, “and hopefully even better.”

Top position classes: LB 

February, 17, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
The Alabama Crimson Tide’s 2014 class fill just about every need on the board, and that includes linebacker. With designs on addressing pass rushing and the ability to play in space on the edge at outside 'backer in Nick Saban’s 3-4 scheme, Alabama signed the Nos. 1 and No. 2 outside linebackers in the country in No. 48 overall Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley) and No. 52 overall Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn), who is pound for pound of the best pure athletes in the 2014 cycle. The Crimson Tide added two more talented linebackers in ESPN 300’s No. 102 Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) and No. 281 Keith Holcombe (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest). Hamilton is an MLB.

The Crimson Tide had the nation’s best linebacker class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

Incoming impact countdown: No. 19-23

February, 17, 2014
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Now that they’ve signed their letters of intent, Texas’ incoming recruits can officially toss their stars in the trash. They don’t matter now.

While such ratings and rankings are helpful throughout the recruiting process, they mean nothing once a player sets foot on campus and joins the program. Gold stars won’t decide who gets to play as a freshman. Preparation, fit, need, raw talent, confidence, some good fortune -- a whole lot of real stuff matters now.

In 2013, only three Texas true freshmen -- Kent Perkins, Tyrone Swoopes and Jacorey Warrick -- and two junior college transfers played in a signing class of 15. Which members of this next class have a chance to help out the Longhorns from Day 1?

This week we’re breaking down the Texas signees by their ability to make an early impact during their time on the 40 Acres, counting down from No. 23 to No. 1.

23. RB Kevin Shorter
Newton (Texas) | 6-foot, 190 pounds

2013: 630 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs, 11 receptions, 224 receiving yards, 4 receiving TDs

Shorter knows playing in 2014 is not likely because of the spinal cord injury he suffered in October. If he’s going to don the burnt orange in his time in Austin, Shorter could need a procedure and will need the approval of UT doctors. He’s facing a long road to recovery but hopes a college career is at the end of the road.

When healthy, Shorter was one of East Texas’ most dynamic athletes, capable of changing games as a rusher, receiver and defensive back. He was all over the place in Newton’s Wing-T offense and could touch the ball in a variety of ways in a college offense if cleared to play again.

D'Onta Foreman
Max Olson/ESPNThree-star signee D'Onta Foreman has the frame to be a physical running back or a linebacker.
22. OT Elijah Rodriguez
Houston Cypress Creek | 6-6, 280

A last-second January find by the new coaching staff, Rodriguez was set to sign with Colorado but couldn’t turn down becoming a Longhorn and following in his grandfather’s footsteps. He had a dozen offers but remained a sleeper prospect throughout the past year.

Rodriguez already has said he’ll likely take a redshirt in 2014, but he’s excited about the prospect of devoting a year to his development. Texas loses three starting offensive linemen but has plenty of talent in the cupboard. Rodriguez’s talents probably won’t be needed this fall, but he has the right mentality going in and could be a guy that surprises in this class down the road.

21. RB D'Onta Foreman
Texas City | 6-2, 217

2013: 2,102 rushing yards, 31 rushing TDs, 22 tackles, 12 TFLs, 5 sacks, 1 interception

Where does he fit in best on a college field? That’s a question that has to intrigue the new Texas coaching staff. Foreman was an underrated commit last summer who runs a legit 4.4, a power back who also busted a 99-yard touchdown run as a senior. His stats in his final year at Texas City made Texas look awful smart for offering.

While Texas could need some help in the backfield, especially if Johnathan Gray is slow to get back to the lineup, Foreman just might be a linebacker, too. He’s certainly got the size and frame to develop toward that role. For now, he should just focus on getting qualified and getting to Austin.

20. S Jason Hall
South Grand Prairie | 6-2, 190

2013: 57 tackles, 6 interceptions, 6 pass breakups, 2 touchdowns

It’s hard to peg whether Hall is underrated or properly rated on this list, because it’s obvious Texas has some real needs at safety for 2014 and beyond. But Hall has been underestimated throughout his high school days, and he’ll arrive in the summer with every intention of contributing early.

He brings nice size to the safety spot and has dedicated a lot of time to working with DB coaches and raising his game. Hall’s game might blossom with a redshirt year, especially in the weight room, but don’t count him out for immediate playing time just yet.

19. DT Jake McMillon
Abilene | 6-3, 245

2013: 43 tackles, 4 TFLs, 1 sack, 3 pass breakups

It wouldn't be shocking at all if McMillon works his way up this list in the summer, because his reputation for hard work at Abilene was impeccable. He’s an interesting kind of tweener along the defensive line -- Texas coaches considered him a defensive tackle in camp last summer -- but one who brings a lot to the table.

No matter where new defensive line coach Chris Rumph puts McMillon, there’s going to be a need for depth throughout the Texas line in 2014. His best bet for the future is probably to bulk up toward a spot up the middle, but he is versatile and will agree to whatever is required to chip in for the Longhorns early in his career.

Texas coaches back on the road recruiting 

January, 16, 2014
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The dead period is over and it’s time to hit the road. Charlie Strong has his new coaching staff in place and is ready to get back to work on closing out Texas’ recruiting class.

The Longhorns currently have 21 committed prospects, though several are looking to take official visits elsewhere this month. There are big-time recruits still available. And don’t forget the new names who are sure to pop up on Texas’ radar in the next few weeks.

Here’s a rundown of where things stand and what names you should know entering the end of the dead period.

Solid commitments


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Loss halts Texas' recruiting momentum 

November, 17, 2013
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Everything was set up so perfectly for the Longhorns prior to kickoff on Saturday afternoon.

They came in riding a six-game winning streak with a chance to make it seven against a marquee opponent in Oklahoma State, who was in search of its sixth straight victory.

The sidelines were littered with some of the top recruits in the country, including the nation’s top player in running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine), ESPN 300 safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) and ESPN 300 cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen). The latter two were on official visits.

The sky was even painted a picturesque blend of blue, pink, orange and yellow.

But then kickoff came and with it went much of the momentum, both on the field and in recruiting, that Texas had built up over the last two months.

Oklahoma State manhandled the Longhorns. The final score was 38-13 but it could have been a lot worse. A mass exodus of a tired fan base began late in the third quarter.

It was the exact opposite of the environment Texas was hoping to create for the recruits in attendance. They witnessed Oklahoma State bask in glory from their seats directly behind the Cowboys’ bench.

Many of those were 2014 commits, as 12 of Texas' 24-member class were expected to be in Austin.

In addition to 2015 commit Jalen Campbell (Corpus Christi, Texas/Flour Bluff), the Longhorns were also expected to host several top junior prospects. They included athlete Louis Brown (Burton, Texas/Burton), running back Lanard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine), cornerback Holton Hill (Houston/Lamar), quarterback J.W. Ketchum (Missouri City, Texas/Thurgood Marshall), cornerback Keivon Ramsey (Converse, Texas/Judson), wide receiver Kemah Siverand (Houston/Cypress Ridge), linebacker Cameron Townsend (Missouri City, Texas/Ridge Point) and defensive back Jordan Tolbert (Missouri City, Texas/Ridge Point).

Texas also hosted its lone 2016 commit, receiver Reggie Hemphill, along with several 2016 teammates from Manvel, Texas, in safety Deontay Anderson, who has a Texas offer, linebacker Jordan Carmouche, and athlete D’Eriq King. Fort Worth (Texas) Southwest 2016 quarterback Devin Williams was also slated to be in attendance.

For as ugly as the loss was, and for as many questions as it has already brought about concerning the future of Texas coach Mack Brown, this defeat doesn’t seem like it will have that much of an affect on those already verbally pledged to Texas.

They’ve endured quite a bit already but have long maintained their desire to help turn this program around. Take this tweet from Cuney for example: “There they go on my Coach Brown! Get off his back man. He not the 1 playing. He can only do so much!”

Best Big 12 classes by position 

September, 10, 2013
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There is still plenty of work for every Big 12 program to do before the completion of the 2014 recruiting cycle. But one can begin to at least paint an outline for how each class is going to look come February.

Here is a look at which Big 12 teams have the best 2014 recruiting class at each position.

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Stat check: Longhorns 2014 commitments 

September, 2, 2013
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Here is a look at how each one of Texas’ 2014 commitments faired this week:

Derick Roberson
Max Olson/ESPNDefensive end Derick Roberson helped Brennan shut out San Antonio Holmes 52-0 on Friday.
• ESPN 300 defensive end Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/Brennan), the No. 8 DE in the country, helped Brennan shut out San Antonio Holmes 52-0 on Friday.

• ESPN 300 wide receiver Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City) caught three passes for 62 yards and a 44-yard touchdown in a 48-0 win over Dickinson.

• ESPN 300 quarterback Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) completed 12 of 18 passes for 179 yards and two interceptions and rushed 18 times for 103 yards in a 38-28 loss to Cedar Hill (Texas).

• ESPN 300 cornerback Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/Saint Augustine) helped the Purple Knights defense hold Amite to six points in a 35-6 victory on Saturday.

• ESPN 300 outside linebacker Otaro Alaka and Houston/Cypress Falls lost to Conroe (Texas) Oak Ridge, 37-16.


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Texas adds three-star ATH Shorter 

August, 17, 2013
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The options were plentiful for three-star athlete Kevin Shorter (Newton, Texas/Newton). But in the end, he decided that his best bet was heading to the Forty Acres.

The 6-foot, 188-pound prospect from Southeast Texas announced on Saturday that he was staying in-state and gave his commitment to Texas. Shorter posted the news on his Twitter page on Saturday afternoon.

"I've made my mind up that ill be going to UT #HookEm," Shorter tweeted.

Newton head coach W.T. Johnston confirmed the commitment in a text message.

Shorter, the nation's 61st-ranked athlete, had 25 offers to choose from and had a final three of Arkansas, Texas and Texas A&M. He visited all three campuses within the last six weeks and originally planned to decide Aug. 3, but postponed his decision in order to take a couple more visits.

Some believed Arkansas might have the inside track on Shorter. His cousin, D.J. Dean, is a freshman cornerback at Arkansas and the two were high school teammates at Newton.

Texas didn't appear to be the favorite, especially after Shorter had a positive visits at both Arkansas and Texas A&M last month. But shortly after his trip to Aggieland, he made two visits to Texas in the span of a week. He visited the Longhorns for the Texas Stampede, then made return trips to Texas on Aug. 2, a visit that appeared to seal the deal.

Texas running backs coach Larry Porter, who led the recruitment of Shorter, was upfront with Shorter about the Longhorns plan for him and how they felt about the talented athlete.

The Longhorns got into the mix in the spring and Shorter got a chance to meet with the coaching staff several times when he was in Austin for the Texas state high school track and field championships.

Texas has two running backs in its 2014 class: ESPN 300 back Donald Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower) and Texas City (Texas) High School running back D'Onta Foreman.


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Considering he’d never set foot in the Lone Star State before Monday, Miami Central four-star running back Dalvin Cook didn’t exactly know what to expect going into his unofficial visit to Texas this week.

The Longhorns hosted Cook on Tuesday and made a strong impression on the No. 23 recruit in the ESPN 300.


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Welcome to The Heard, HornsNation’s weekly in-depth look inside the never-ending world of Longhorns recruiting with news, notes and interesting tidbits on the latest happenings around the program. We’ll release this every Friday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.

In this week’s edition of The Heard:

  • Texas Stampede visitors list

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Texas hosts its final big recruiting event of the summer on Saturday with the Texas Stampede, but another big-time visitor is expected to visit campus on Monday.

Four-star running back Dalvin Cook, the No. 4 running back in the country and No. 22 overall in the ESPN 300, is planning an unofficial visit with his family to check out the Longhorns’ campus on Monday and Tuesday.

The Miami Central back is currently committed to Florida and has been since April after originally making a pledge to Clemson. Several programs -- including Miami, USC and Alabama -- have continued to recruit the 5-foot-11, 196-pound Under Armour All-American. Now Texas is in the mix, too.


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Summer Recruit Wrap: Texas 

July, 23, 2013
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Here is a look at five things we’ve learned about Longhorns recruiting this summer.

1. Suddes making big impact

Patrick Suddes, Texas’ Director of Player Personnel, could go down as one of coach Mack Brown’s best hires in his time at UT. All Suddes has done since coming on board in March is help make smart, innovative decisions that have helped the Longhorns appeal to recruits despite not winning like they’re used to on the field.


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Thursday’s commitments from ESPN 300 wide receiver Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas High) and brother D'Onta Foreman gave the Longhorns 21 commitments in 2014, leaving them just a few more spots to fill.
Here are a look at five positions of need that could help Texas put a bow on this class.


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Foreman brothers choose Longhorns

June, 27, 2013
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Throughout all the twists and turns in their recruitment, one thing was certain: Texas City (Texas) standouts Armanti Foreman and D'Onta Foreman dreamed of playing college football together.

That’s was the plan, and they stuck to it. The Foreman brothers committed to Texas on Thursday night.

Armanti, an ESPN 300 wide receiver, chose the Longhorns over Texas A&M. As expected, brother and three-star running back D'Onta joined him in pledging to Texas after finally receiving his offer earlier this month.

Their father, Darreck Foreman, announced the brothers' decision in a press release on Thursday night after the family called Mack Brown and the Longhorns' coaching staff to make it official.

“It's wonderful,” D'Onta Foreman said. “Texas is always going to be Texas. They have a big, top-10 program and just a wonderful program. For them to offer me and for me to actually play there is wonderful. I’m really happy they offered both of us. We can really contribute in their offense.”

The brothers become the 20th and 21st members of Texas’ No. 4-ranked recruiting class. While the school they ended up picking wasn’t a surprise -- especially after UT offered D’Onta -- arriving at this decision was not easy.

Even as recently as last week, Armanti told his brother he wanted to wait, take official visits this fall and make his final decision after his senior season. He wasn’t ready to decide, and he was willing to attend a different college than his brother if necessary.

But ultimately, Armanti had a change of heart. His coaches at Texas City urged the nation’s No. 117-ranked prospect to make a decision soon, before Texas and A&M fill their receiver needs for 2014 and move on.

"It really wasn't that tough," Armanti told GigEmNation's Sam Khan Jr. "Texas was recruiting me the hardest. And then they gave my brother the opportunity that some other schools didn't so I had to jump on it."

That also meant he was risking his opportunity to play with D’Onta at Texas, and that proved too difficult to pass up. Armanti told his father on Thursday morning he was ready to make up his mind, and he assured him he wasn’t rushing this decision.

"While both of the brothers have fielded offers from near and far, being close to home at a program as reputable as Texas was a win-win situation," Darreck Foreman said. "The Foreman family would like to thank all other programs for their interest in D’Onta and Armanti. This decision was difficult, but this commitment is solid, as they are now both able to focus on personal improvements on the field and in the classroom."

Texas now has verbal commitments from six wide receivers, with ESPN 300 athlete Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper), Garrett Gray (Marble Falls, Texas/Marble Falls), Roderick Bernard (Houston/Sharpstown), Emanuel Porter (Dallas/Lincoln) and Dorian Leonard (Longview, Texas/Longview) joining Foreman in the Horns’ 2014 class.

D’Onta, who earned his Longhorns offer after a strong showing at Texas’ June 9 prospect camp, becomes the Longhorns’ second running back pledge, along with ESPN 300 back Donald Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower). He’s been looking forward to making his Texas pledge for more than a week.

“The biggest reason was really two things: I figured my parents can come watch me play, and they gave me what I wanted, because I want to play running back,” Foreman said. “I really feel like that was the best school to offer me. When they told me I could play close to home and play running back, that was really huge for my decision.”

His brother originally committed to Oklahoma last October but backed out of that pledge in the spring following multiple visits to Texas. Armanti received an offer from the Longhorns during a junior day visit this spring and holds more than 15 offers.

It took D’Onta more time to get noticed. He since has improved his SAT score, which was one major hurdle toward an offer, and also made a strong impression on new running backs coach Larry Porter after running a 4.48 in the 40 at camp.

The state’s No. 12-ranked running back prospect held five other offers but said staying close to home was a priority.

“I had other offers, but they were far away,” he said. “I went to Texas camp to prove I can play and I’m a great athlete like my brother.”

He did just that, and now both Foremans are Longhorns.

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