The Baylor Bears are set to meet the UCLA Bruins in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl after finishing the regular season at 7-5, winning four of their final five games down the stretch. They were helped by the emergence of Lache Seastrunk at running back, who exploded over Baylor’s final five games. But the sophomore running back has his sights set on bigger things, as he’s already guaranteed that he will be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy next season.
In an interview with the Sporting News, Seastrunk laid out his goals for 2013:
“I’m going to win the Heisman. I’m going to win it in 2013. If I don’t, I’m going to get very close. I’m shooting for that goal. I will gladly say it.”
His head coach, Art Briles, doesn’t doubt that his talented tailback can get it done, calling his Heisman hopes for next season a “realistic” goal. The Bears certainly have shown they have an offense capable of sending a candidate to New York City (see: Robert Griffin III).
This year, the Bears were nearly as prolific as when RGIII brought college football’s highest individual honor home to Waco. The Bears had the No. 5 ranked scoring offense in the country as they averaged 578.8 yards per game of total offense, 225.5 of that on the ground.
Seastrunk was a late bloomer in 2012, though. Through the first seven games of the season, the sophomore averaged less than 26 yards per game. He hit his stride in November, though, averaging 138.6 yards per game over Baylor’s final five games with five touchdowns, including three against the Oklahoma Sooners. He sparked the Bears in their upset of the then-No. 1 Kansas State Wildcats when he ran for a career best 185 yards and a touchdown.
He has no doubts about his ability, either:
“I feel like there’s no back who can do what I can do. I know I’m the fastest back in the country. I know I’m the best back in the country. Nobody’s going to work harder.”
He certainly won’t be lacking in the confidence department as he mounts his Heisman run next season, that’s for sure.
He will have some stiff competition, however, to join college football’s most exclusive fraternity. Johnny Manziel will likely be ready to put together a solid campaign to win his second golden statue along with many others. Jadeveon Clowney of the South Carolina Gamecocks has already put his name in to be the first “pure” defensive player to win the award.
USC Trojans wide receiver Marqise Lee could improve on his impressive sophomore season and get recognized next year for his dominating performances in the receiving game. Additionally, if Braxton Miller can continue to grow in Urban Meyer‘s offense and match or improve his 2012 performance for the Ohio State Buckeyes, who will be eligible for the postseason next year, it would be impossible to deny him a spot as a Heisman finalist.
And the college football landscape will be filled with premier running backs to challenge Seastrunk as even the best running back in college football, let alone the most outstanding player. Ka’Deem Carey of the Arizona Wildcats returns for his junior season after leading the nation in rushing this season. De’Anthony Thomas will be the man for the Oregon Ducks and their high-powered rushing attack next year, as well.
In short, it’s a long way to New York City for the 2013 Heisman Trophy presentation and there are too many worthy candidates in the mix for Lache Seastrunk to be guaranteeing anything for next year after just five good games in 2012.