The college football season in Texas starts a week earlier than normal with a Week 0 matchup between North Texas and UTEP. To celebrate us making it through another off-season, we’re counting down the 50 most important players in Texas every day until Aug. 27. The list isn’t necessarily about which players are the best, though talent plays a major factor in most important.
No. 17: Devon Achane, Texas A&M junior running back
Achane was a four-star all-purpose back in the 2020 recruiting class who picked Texas A&M over 19 other offers, including North Carolina, Alabama, and Auburn. He was the 2019 Touchdown Club of Houston Offensive Player of the Year after his senior season at Fort Bend Marshall. He rushed for 2,097 yards and 38 touchdowns that season, adding 32 catches for 694 yards and 10 scores as a receiver. Achane was also a state champion sprinter during his prep career.
Achane found a permanent home at running back despite some in the recruiting world assuming that he’d end up a slot receiver in college. The 5-9, 185-pound Achane played in eight games during his true freshman season of 2020. His raw speed made him the perfect change of pace to Isaiah Spiller. Achane ended the year with 364 yards rushing and 97 yards receiving with five total touchdowns. His season climaxed when he was named the Orange Bowl Most Outstanding Player after rushing for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the win over North Carolina.
Achane played in all 12 games for Texas A&M in 2021. He led the SEC with seven yards per rushing attempt and finished second on the team with 910 yards. He scored 10 total touchdowns and caught the ball 24 times to go with his 130 rushing attempts. Achane also returned a kickoff for a touchdown and averaged 122.7 total yards per game last season.
Achane is a two-sport star who continues to thrive as a sprinter on Texas A&M’s track team despite the heavy workload at a demanding position such as running back. Achane’s pure speed make him dangerous every single time he touches the football, and he does that in a variety of ways. He scored touchdowns as a rusher, receiver, and returner in 2021. His 7.0 yards per carry were the most in the SEC and was in the top-11 nationally. He’s also proven durable despite his lack of size for a traditional running back.
Achane’s role should only increase with Spiller off to the NFL. He’s destined for his first 1,000-yard season as a collegiate, and he could emerge as one of the top all-around running backs in the country if his exploits as a receiver and a returner continue alongside more carries. Texas A&M is amid a three-way quarterback battle, and a solid running game could help the eventual winner ease into the position early in the year. Achane is a big-play weapon who can score every time he touches the ball. He’s an explosive player that opposing defenses must account for before every snap.
PREVIOUSLY ON THE LONE STAR 50 COUNTDOWN
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