Running back uses Swoopes’ struggles as motivation

Tyler Horka

Senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes wouldn’t have soared into the end zone without lead blockers Sunday night. Among them was junior running back D’Onta Foreman. 

He locked up an Irish defensive back, taking him out of the play while clearing up an even bigger hole for Swoopes to shoot through and end the game. 

Despite Foreman’s key blocking and big stat line — running the ball 24 times for 131 yards and a touchdown — he said he wasn’t always a focal point of Texas’ offense.

“A lot of people doubted me and said that I wouldn’t be anything,” Foreman said.

His twin brother, junior wide receiver Armanti Foreman, received a scholarship from Texas before he did. D’Onta Foreman lurked as an afterthought heading into his freshman year. He carried the ball 15 times that season, roaming the sideline for most of the campaign as running backs Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray shouldered the load.

Like Foreman, Swoopes has seen his fair share of detractors. He experienced a rough 2014 campaign, tossing 11 interceptions while completing merely 58.3 percent of his passes. He started the team’s first game in 2015 before losing the starting job after taking a 38-3 beating from Notre Dame — he now plays primarily in
situational packages. 

“It’s always disappointing when you don’t get what you’ve been working for,” Swoopes said. “It’s just made me lean on my teammates and coaches more than ever.”

Foreman supported Swoopes through the rough spots. The running back was among the first to praise the quarterback after his game-winning touchdown — and he did it in a big way.

He stood up in the locker room and orchestrated a standing ovation for Swoopes. Foreman praised the senior for staying optimistic and inspired despite a decrease in playing time. 

“I just told them that Tyrone is a great example of a leader on this team and how he just pushes through,” Foreman said. “I told them that everything doesn’t go his way and he still always has a positive attitude, always has a smile on his face, always just trying to go out there and do the best for his team.”

Foreman said he’s inspired by Swoopes’ resilience,
especially after facing more
adversity late last season. 

After taking over for an injured Gray as the team’s starting running back, he put together back-to-back performances with over 140 rushing yards against Kansas and West Virginia. But a hand injury put him on the shelf for Texas’ last two games of the 2015 season.

Foreman said he admires that Swoopes never gives in to circumstances beyond his control, good or bad. Strong echoed the sentiment, saying the quarterback never complains. 

“He never says anything, that’s why I think Foreman made a big deal about it in the locker room afterwards,” Strong said. “He never says anything. But it just shows us who he is, and his whole make-up and his whole character and what he’s all about.”

Swoopes continues to motivate Foreman, who emphasized the importance of staying humble and ready to contribute at any time. As both step into a big roles this season, they continue to grow from their early adversity. 

“I think [Swoopes’ attitude] really sits with me … I feel like it’s something I’ve been through as well,”
Foreman said.