Harrington picked as top FCS returning back
After he was named Preseason All-American by Athlon Sports, Lamar University senior running back Kade Harrington was tabbed as the top returning FCS running back in the country announced the same publication Sunday afternoon. The list of ten tailbacks features seven of the nation’s top 10 finishers in rushing years from 2016.
Athlon named Harrington as a preseason All-American in early June, all after a tremendous season that saw him earn consensus All-America honors from leading the nation in rushing, and being selected as a finalist for the 2015 STATS FCS National Offensive Player of the Year Award – FCS football’s version of the Heisman Trophy.
He was one of two Southland Conference backs to be added to the list, Corey Avery of Sam Houston State was picked 10th in the group. Also on the list, and ranked fourth, is De’Angelo Henderson of Coastal Carolina – which visits Provost Umphrey in the 2017 season opener.
In 2016, Harrington led the nation rushing yards, yards per game, all-purpose yards and rushing touchdowns, and finished third in yards per carry and second nationally in scoring. He finished the season with 2,092 yards, but went over the 2,000-yard plateau in the 10th game of the season. He became just the seventh player in the history of NCAA Division I football to reached 2,000 yards in just 10 games, joining a list that includes Barry Sanders and Marcus Allen.
The Kingwood native set a school record by rushing for at least 100 yards in eight consecutive games, on his way to setting the school and Southland single-season rushing records. A three-time conference player of the week, and a two-time national offensive player of the week, Harrington was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. He finished the season with 63 carries of at least 10 yards, eight runs of 50 yards or more and three of 70, including an 80-yard touchdown run.
Already the school’s all-time leading rusher, Harrington enters his final season on pace to become just the fifth back in league history to rush for 4,000 yards in a career. He also ranks among the league’s all-time top-10 in rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns and is on pace to move into the SLC’s all-time top-10 in scoring and all-purpose yards early in 2016.
Harrington became the first player in program history to be named SLC Player of the Year in 2015, and enters 2016 looking to become just the fourth player in league history to repeat as the league’s MVP (Timothy Flanders, Jeremy Moses and Claude Mathis).
Fans will get their first look at the 2016 version of the LU football team Saturday, Sept. 3 when it kicks off the season at home against Henderson and CCU, who as a team is ranked in Athlon’s preseason top 10. The game is slated to kick off at 7 p.m.
In a synopsis, Athlon had this to say about Harrington: “It took only 10 games last season for Harrington to surpass 2,000 rushing yards, and he went on to lead the FCS in total rushing yards (2,092), rushing yards per game (190.2), rushing touchdowns (21) and all-purpose yards per game (213.4). He employs a north-south running style, with a quick burst from defenders, to dominate games. Along with Edmonds, the Southland Conference player of the year shared the FCS single-game high last season with 347 rushing yards (against Abilene Christian). He averaged nearly 7.9 yards per carry while finishing runner-up to Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp as the national offensive player of the year”