- Jake Elman Special to The Post
When Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary ran for four touchdowns in a Sept. 30 win over Middle Tennessee, onlookers joked the American Heritage alum was headed for a Heisman Trophy.
Nine more wins, 30 total touchdowns, and a school-aided #Motor4Heisman movement later, Singletary was on his way to becoming the first All-American in FAU history. As only a true sophomore, Singletary finished 80 rushing yards shy of 2,000 on the season and led Division I (FBS) with 32 rushing touchdowns. Only Barry Sanders (37 for Oklahoma State in 1988) and Montee Ball (33 for Wisconsin in 2011) had more in a single season than Singletary.
Singletary’s 32 touchdowns in one season are more than program legend and ex-record holder Alfred Morris (27) had in four seasons.
“This many touchdowns — I don’t know if I (saw) that coming,” Singletary said after the Owls’ 50-3 rout over Akron in last month’s Boca Raton Bowl. “All we preach is trying to be the top in rushing yards, so big shout out to the O-line for that one.”
Here is a look at FAU’s running backs position in 2017:
MVP: If Singletary was Conference USA’s Most Valuable Player, not having him as the most valuable player of his own position group would be a problem. Singletary rewrote the FAU record books as a true sophomore and, with at least one more season of college football in him, seems primed to have it all to himself when he leaves Boca Raton.
Biggest surprise: Despite a reduced role and battling injuries, senior Gregory “Buddy” Howell Jr. had arguably his best season. Howell ran for nearly 100 fewer yards (740 from 828) and eight fewer touchdowns (five) than he did in 2016, but averaged a career and team-best 6.6 yards per rush. Had Howell not missed two games, the senior could have potentially topped 1,000 yards.
Honorable mention: Singletary only getting a combined 23 carries in the Owls’ first two games.
Who’s returning? Devin Singletary; Kerrith Whyte (Seminole Ridge); Gerald Hearns (Dwyer); Tyrek Tisdale; James Charles; Daniel Leconte.
Who’s leaving? Howell and fifth-year senior Marcus Clark are both graduating. Running back/linebacker A.J. Turman has exhausted all five years of his eligibility as well.
Biggest offseason story line: How will this year’s heavy workload affect Singletary in the future? Singletary was tied with Colorado’s Phillip Lindsay for the most rushing attempts in FBS (301) and had six games of 25-plus carries. This season showed that FAU’s offense was at its best when Singletary put on a show, meaning he could be in for a light spring camp as coach Lane Kiffin and his staff look to limit the wear and tear on him.