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Texas A&M Football

Could Devon Achane be a dark horse Heisman contender in 2022?

February 17, 2022
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A fast start often results in a race won.

That would be obvious to anyone who saw Texas A&M’s Devon Achane’s 6.63-second victory in the 60-meter dash two weeks ago.

Achane is the fastest man in college football. He starts fast. He finishes fast. He wins races.

With that in mind, why not get a fast start on hyping Achane as a Heisman Trophy contender in 2022?

No doubt, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young — the 2021 recipient — will be the strong favorite. Also, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and running back Trayveon Henderson and USC quarterback Caleb Williams will be hyped as leading contenders. As will Alabama linebacker Will Anderson.

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Achane’s production should see a huge jump in 2022 with the new starting role. 

The bet here is Achane will emerge as a dark horse because he’s a racehorse who might finally be the Aggies’ workhorse.

This opinion is not based on hope. It is not based on bias. It is based on mathematics.

Last season, Achane rushed for 910 yards and nine touchdowns on 130 carries. He ranked 57th in the nation in rushing yards.

Yet, Achane had fewer attempts than all of the 56 rushers ahead of him. His 7.0 yards average per attempt was higher than all of them as well.

Of course, one of those who had more yards and attempts was Texas A&M starting running back Isaiah Spiller, who has departed for NFL fame and fortune.

That should result in significantly more attempts for Achane. If Achane doubles his rushing attempts to 260, he could theoretically double his production to 1,820 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.

That’s a Heisman-type year.

For those who scoff, remember Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker was arguably the leading candidate last season until he was held to 25 rushing yards on six carries in a  56-7 loss to Ohio State on Nov. 20.

Walker finished last season with 263 carries for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Further, Achane is more of a receiving threat than Walker was. Last season, Walker had 13 catches for 18 yards. Achane had 24 catches for 261 yards.

Also, Walker did not return kickoffs. Anybody in Alabama can attest that Achane does.

Indeed, it’s the big-play element that Achane displayed on that 96-yard touchdown return in the Aggies’ win over Alabama, which will make him a serious contender.

So many voters rely on highlights. Achane is a highlight waiting to happen.

Already in his career, he has scored nine touchdowns on plays that covered between 20 and 96 yards. All that despite having limited touches.

Already in his career, Achane has scored nine touchdowns on plays that covered between 20 and 96 yards. All that despite having limited touches.

Just last season, Achane had five rushes of 30 yards or more. Walker had eight.

Achane has tremendous potential for a dramatic spike in big plays. Not only could he double his touches, but he’ll play with a better quarterback. He’ll be behind an offensive line that should be improved in four of the five positions. A&M figures to have more explosive receivers that may prevent defenses from stacking the box.

Of course, skeptics would question Achane’s durability at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds. But he runs with more power than some realize, and he seldom takes a solid hit.

Also, some might doubt coach Jimbo Fisher will give Achane the volume of carries necessary to make a Heisman run.

That’s a legitimate point. However, recall that in 2018, Fisher ran Trayveon Williams 271 times for 1,760 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Fisher will use a racehorse for a workhorse when necessary.

As for the dark horse… well, the Texas A&M Sports Information Department should address that.

SIDs often promote players as candidates by distributing trinkets to Heisman voters. BYU once sent out neckties to hype quarterback Ty Detmer. Memphis produced die-cast race car models for running back DeAngelo Williams. Rutgers sent binoculars so voters could watch running back “Ray Rice run.”

A&M should consider producing chains linked with the letter ‘A’. Achane… get it? Hey, it doesn’t have to be brilliant. It just has to get voters aware of him.

Distribute them as fast as possible. Remember fast starts lead to races won.

Discussion from...

Could Devon Achane be a dark horse Heisman contender in 2022?

6,263 Views | 18 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by 94chem
ABATTBQ87
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AG
Fully agree that Achane will be a Heisman candidate. I know this is blasphemy but Achane is a better back than Spiller.
SEC Champs
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AG
ABATTBQ87 said:

Fully agree that Achane will be a Heisman candidate. I know this is blasphemy but Achane is a better back than Spiller.

Let's agree that he's a more versatile back, which means he'll be used more in the passing game and special teams. Spiller is special, too, but a different kind of back.
Dr RC
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lol yeah right. Cant be a Heisman RB when your coach forgets to run the ball for entire quarters.
AgOutsideAustin
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AG
Dr RC said:

lol yeah right. Cant be a Heisman RB when your coach forgets to run the ball for entire quarters.


You talkin bout me?
- 4th quarter
4
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AG
SEC Champs said:

ABATTBQ87 said:

Fully agree that Achane will be a Heisman candidate. I know this is blasphemy but Achane is a better back than Spiller.

Let's agree that he's a more versatile back, which means he'll be used more in the passing game and special teams. Spiller is special, too, but a different kind of back.

He's better. By the end of this season, there will be no one arguing it anymore.
Agsuffering@bulaw
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I hope so, but this is a bit of a reach. There has not been a RB finalist since 2017, Bryce Love. Love touched it 299 times and was perceived as carrying that offense.

Achane is awesome, but he is too small and slight to carry that many times. The only way he could win is the Reggie bush path- do something incredible every other time he touches the ball, including STs. Reggie returned kicks and punts.
LatinAggie1997
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AG
Good read and on point. He definitely has the skillset to win the Heisman and perhaps we just might have the pieces around him to do it.

Achane could average 200+ apy/gm and return kicks.
I wouldn't bet against him.
AWP 97
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AG
SEC Champs said:

ABATTBQ87 said:

Fully agree that Achane will be a Heisman candidate. I know this is blasphemy but Achane is a better back than Spiller.

Let's agree that he's a more versatile back, which means he'll be used more in the passing game and special teams. Spiller is special, too, but a different kind of back.


I really like Spiller as an Aggie and a football player but I would hesitate to call his play on the field "special". Johnny's play was special particularly when you think about how rare it has been for A&M to have a QB like that. A&M's history is loaded with RBs like Spiller. I do believe Achane has a chance to be special but I'm not sure Fisher will use him that way and we may not have to for our offense to be productive.
Ag86Hotard109
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AG
I'd like to see him run some of those Deebo Samuel sweep runs out of the slot. Get him up to speed around the corner and NOONE will catch him!
Bonzer103
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AG
Biggest challenge Achane will have this season is to stay healthy due to his slighter frame. If he can play in 90% of the games this year, I think he will have a huge year and be the biggest surprise. But he has to stay healthy.
Batty
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As much as I like DA and think he will be one of the top RBs in the nation next yr, there have only been 2 RBs win the Heisman Trophy in the last 20. The Heisman has turned into a QB trophy.
Frank Grimes
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AG
Ag86Hotard109 said:

I'd like to see him run some of those Deebo Samuel sweep runs out of the slot. Get him up to speed around the corner and NOONE will catch him!


Is Noone a linebacker or DB? What team?
rshackelford
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AG
In a word…..

No.


Nobody on this team will get an invite if we lose more than 1 game next year, anyway.
bv86ag
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AG
The O - line will have to step up it's performance which will be a big hurdle after losing Green and having to find a LT.
That could really hinder Achane..especially early in the season.
aggieclay
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Dark horse, no. Front runner, should be.
24601
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AG
You've made a believer out of me!
Gigem_94
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AG
With the number of playmakers the Aggies have, it better not be necessary for Achane to produce heisman stats.
94chem
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You can use him to make the QB's life easier. Line him up wide and bring him in motion. put him in the slot and watch the defense adjust. Leave him in protection, but make him the safety valve. Defenses have to respect his speed, and he will help the QB tremendously by slowing down the rush, creating match-ups with LB's, pre-snap reads, and providing a late check-down with big play potential. I'd probably try to keep him out there for every snap, but limit touches to around 20.
94chem,
That, sir, was the greatest post in the history of TexAgs. I salute you. -- Dough
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