Two years ago, Copperas Cove collectively watched its hometown hero become a Heisman trophy winner at Baylor.
Now, it might be Temple’s turn.
Former Wildcat standout Lache Seastrunk was selected as a dark horse candidate to win the Heisman Trophy in the latest edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine. The Bears junior running back exploded onto the national scene late last season by gaining 831 yards (138.5 yards per game) and scoring six touchdowns in Baylor’s final six games, including five victories.
Seastrunk, who left Temple in 2009 as the school’s all-time leader in rushing yards (4,217) and total touchdowns (52), set three school records at Baylor in his first season after redshirting at Oregon and sitting out the 20011 season to fulfill NCAA transfer requirements. He was named the 2012 Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP and the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year after finishing last season with 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns on 131 carries along with nine receptions for 107 yards and a score.
And, according to the prestigious magazine, which hit the shelves Wednesday and has been annually coveted by diehard Texas football fans since 1960, even bigger things loom on the horizon.
“Imagine what he can do starting for the full season,” the magazine reported. “The explosive junior will share carries with Glasco Martin, but he has the potential to set a school rushing record.”
In addition to landing on the 12-man list of potential Heisman winners, headlined by the cover boy for the Summer 2013 edition of DCTF Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, Seastrunk was named Best Running Back on the All-Texas College Team offense, as well as the preseason offensive MVP for the Bears.
Baylor is predicted to finish sixth in the Big 12 Conference before beating Michigan State in the Texas Bowl.
Seastrunk’s former Temple teammate Tevin Reese is considered a “major impact player” and is being predicted to possibly “become the Bears’ top threat” by DCTF after catching 53 passes for 957 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Former Copperas Cove player Trevor Clemons-Valdez is listed as the team’s second-string defensive tackle.
While a majority of Temple’s collective attention will turn toward Waco on Saturdays, the eyes of Texas will be upon the Longhorns and junior quarterback David Ash.
The Belton product experienced numerous ups and downs over the previous two seasons, but appears poised to further progress as he enters the year as the Big 12’s most experienced quarterback.
Ash entrenched himself as the starter last season, completing 214 of 318 passes for 2,699 yards and 19 touchdowns while leading the Longhorns to a 9-4 season, engineering a late scoring drive to deliver a 31-27 come-from-behind victory in the Alamo Bowl.
DCTF said Ash “needs to deliver” this year, grading the Longhorns’ quarterback unit a “B,” and named Mike Davis the team’s preseason offensive MVP. The magazine ranks Texas 15th in its national preseason poll, predicting a second-place finish in the Big 12 and a loss to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. Former Copperas Cove quarterback Duke Thomas is named the Longhorns’ “Depth Chart Buster.” The magazine lists Thomas as a second-string cornerback behind Quandre Diggs, but touts his receiving ability.
“Expect him to be given additional chances at receiver, as his athleticism is too good to pass up,” the magazine reported.
After being a backup at Texas A&M for two seasons, former Shoemaker quarterback Jameill Showers transferred to the University of Texas El-Paso for one reason – to become a starter. According to DCTF, his wish will come true.
“Showers will likely beat out incumbents (Carson) Merger and (Blaire) Sullivan in the fall,” the magazine, which grades UTEP’s quarterback unit a “C,” reported.
Showers is also listed as the Miners “Depth Chart Buster.” Cooper Brock, a junior from Copperas Cove, is listed as the Miners’ second-string strong defensive end.
A pair of Bulldawgs are expected to have big seasons at North Texas as returning starters Brandin Byrd and Brelan Chancellor are each tabbed “major impact players,” with Byrd being named the Mean Green’s preseason offensive MVP.
Byrd led North Texas in rushing as a junior, producing 860 yards, while Chancellor caught a team-high five touchdowns to go with 450 yards on 25 receptions.
Despite giving the Mean Green’s receiving unit a “C,” DCTF was high on Chancellor.
“Brelan Chancellor is a rock at a spot with few other proven playmakers.”