ULL’s Fenroy on course for historical season
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 19, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
Only six running backs in the history of Division IA college football have ever topped 1,000 yards rushing in four consecutive years.
A seventh member may soon join that elite club: LaPlace native and Louisiana-Lafayette standout Tyrell Fenroy.
After his days as a star rusher at St. Charles Catholic, Fenroy made a seamless adjustment to college ball Upon arriving, he rushed for 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman. Suffice to say, he hasn’t looked back.
Fenroy is the nation’s only active rusher coming off of three straight 1,000 yard seasons, and a fourth would cement him in history.
In light of that, it’s not surprising that he is well on the radar of NFL scouts these days.
That’s not the norm for athletes that come from smaller schools like ULL or SCC. Of course, starting from day one at a D-1 program isn’t the norm, either.
One thing is clear: Fenroy has made a point out of bucking the norm.
“I didn’t want to just be a backup,” Fenroy explains. “I didn’t want to redshirt as a freshman. I knew I’d have to work hard from day one. I learned as much as I could from the older players. I asked them to teach me things – I understood I didn’t know everything.”
Fenroy’s opportunity came quicker than most, and once he got it, he wouldn’t relinquish it.
To talk to Fenroy, a quiet, soft-spoken individual, you’d get the impression that he doesn’t let his success go to his head. You’d be right, and that’s by design.
“I know not to look at all the clippings. My main focus is what I do today, on the field,” he says. “I know not to look ahead of myself, not to worry about what’s happened in the past.”
Those press clippings are piling up seemingly by the day. He’s on the verge setting a slew of school records, ones held by current and former NFL standouts like Brandon Stokley (164 behind for most career rushing and receiving yards) and Brian Mitchell (64 behind for most career rushing yards, 3,335).
Fenroy is 779 yards away from overtaking former North Texas runner Patrick Cobbs as the Sun Belt Conference’s All-Time leading rusher (4,050 yards).
He recognizes the impact of what he can do individually. But ask him about his goals in 2008, and he’ll tell you it’s to do his part to bring ULL to a winning season and a bowl game – to “go out with a bang” in his final season.
For Fenroy, all of those yards he’s piled up in the past are just there – in the past. It isn’t where his focus lies.
He says he developed that mentality at the high school level, instilled by a man who is hardly shocked by his former player’s current success.
“It doesn’t surprise us at all,” says St. Charles Coach Frank Monica, who oversaw Fenroy as he gained 5,714 all-purpose yards and scored 82 touchdowns in his Comets career. “The only thing that does, frankly, is that he didn’t receive more interest (from other colleges).”
“He’s one of the guys that helped get us to the next level. He helped elevate the entire program.”
Fenroy’s not big by running back standards at 5’9 and 186 pounds. But he runs like much larger man – Fenroy’s a punishing ball-carrier who is more likely to run a defender over than put a move on him.
“He runs downhill. He doesn’t wiggle,” says Monica. “Every step he takes, he’s gaining on that goalline. And coaches always like that.”
They also love runners who don’t turn the ball over. In 618 career touches, he’s only lost four fumbles.
These things have people at the next level talking. Fenroy has already begun to see the added attention that comes with being a potential NFL draft pick.
“There’s more pressure, knowing I have a chance to make it to the next level,” he says. “Scouts are coming, talking to my coaches, my teachers. I know I have to do the right things on and off the field.”
But even if he realizes that dream, he’ll never forget where it all started – alongside the team, the coaches, and the fans at St. Charles.
“The one thing I’ll always remember,” he says, “is how much support the fans showed every week. It meant a lot. Even when we went on a long road trip, they’d all be in the stands. I never knew it could be like that in high school.”
And if Fenroy continues along his current path, the crowds assembling to see him play may just continue to grow larger and louder as years go by.