Opinion: Motoring towards Relevance

Devin Singletary is the best running back in the nation. Just try telling that to the rest of the country.

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Opinion: Motoring towards Relevance

FAU sophomore running back Devin Singletary (5) gets tackled by North Texas redshirt junior linebacker E.J. Ejiya (22). FAU went on to win against North Texas 69-31 on Saturday.  Alexander Rodriguez | Photo Editor

FAU sophomore running back Devin Singletary (5) gets tackled by North Texas redshirt junior linebacker E.J. Ejiya (22). FAU went on to win against North Texas 69-31 on Saturday. Alexander Rodriguez | Photo Editor

FAU sophomore running back Devin Singletary (5) gets tackled by North Texas redshirt junior linebacker E.J. Ejiya (22). FAU went on to win against North Texas 69-31 on Saturday. Alexander Rodriguez | Photo Editor

FAU sophomore running back Devin Singletary (5) gets tackled by North Texas redshirt junior linebacker E.J. Ejiya (22). FAU went on to win against North Texas 69-31 on Saturday. Alexander Rodriguez | Photo Editor

Ryan Lynch, Business Manager

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Devin Singletary won’t win the Heisman Trophy this year, but he should at least be in the conversation.

The sophomore running back leads the nation in rushing touchdowns with 24, and has inspired FAU athletics to make buttons with “Motor For Heisman” on them. But more importantly, Singletary’s continued national attention means that he could have that chance very soon.

Looking at how Singletary got here is as improbable as his road to national relevance. A three star running back from American Heritage High School in Delray Beach, Singletary had offers from much bigger programs including Miami, Florida State and Illinois who he committed to on Nov. 24.

Despite the commitment to the Fighting Illini, former head coach Charlie Partridge was able to flip Singletary’s commitment from the bigger program on signing day. The change made him one of the most prized pieces of the 2016 signing class, and gave him a chance to be a huge part of the team’s future.

“FAU showed me love. When I went there it was like family,” Singletary said to the UP in 2016, mentioning that he didn’t feel comfortable during his Illinois visit.

But Singletary’s freshman year was a slight hint to his early potential. Despite starting only one game, he ran for 1,021 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns while playing in every game as a freshman.

No one really knew what to expect after his first season. A third straight 3-9 season brought on the firing of Partridge and hiring of current head coach Lane Kiffin. Surrounded in media hype, a new staff and loads of potential, the team could have gone in any direction.

In stepped Singletary.

After two straight losses versus Navy and Wisconsin, Singletary had his coming-out party versus Bethune-Cookman. Registering 109 yards and a touchdown, the performance wasn’t his best, but set a precedent for the rest of the season.

Since that win, Singletary has recorded nine straight games with over 100 yards and has averaged 6.6 yards per carry in that time. On top of making up the yardage, he has scored in 10 straight games with at least one touchdown.

Singletary has also caught the record breaking bug. Besides already holding the program rushing touchdown record of 36 as a sophomore, he also broke the single season rushing yard record held by Alfred Morris and set a career high with a 70-yard rushing touchdown on Nov. 18 versus FIU.

All of that is adding up to a potential award winning season for Singletary. He was already shortlisted as one of 11 candidates for the Doak Walker award for the best running back in the country.

He also has the potential to be selected as an All-Conference USA pick, could win the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year and had his name thrown around as a potential All-American candidate.

Which brings us back to the “Motor For Heisman” conversation.

It would be crazy to have someone like Singletary even make it to that type of stage. Imagine Singletary rubbing elbows with guys like Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley as he sits with the chance to be named the best player in the country.

With the strength of Singletary’s opponents this year and a preference for players from higher profile programs, Singletary may not get that chance this year. As a matter of fact he may never get that chance, unless a number of factors line up in his favor in the future.

But that’s not to say his best football is not ahead of him.  In fact, Motor may have the chance at an even better season left in his tank.

Singletary has up to two seasons to become the best running back in program history. If this season is any indication, he could be doubling the pace of FAU’s last high profile running back.

Alfred Morris ran for only 23 yards his first season, not giving him the same opportunity that Singletary did to make an impact immediately. Charles Pierre only had over 1,000 yards in his final season.

Singletary is already on better pace than both. Even if he stayed one year, there’s no telling where his performance will elevate both himself and FAU Football. 

That push has been his goal the whole time.

“I’m going to be a leader, I’ll never slack, I’ll bring my all to the table every day,” he said in 2016. “Be known as one of the best, or the best.”

Now he has a chance to fulfil that claim.

Ryan Lynch is the business manager of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @RyanLynchwriter.