Matt Forte # RB
Height: 6-2 Weight: 218 Age: 30
Born: 12/10/1985 Lake Charles , LA
Experience: 9th season
High School: Slidell HS [LA]
Selected By: Chicago Bears
Pick (Overall): 13 (44)
The Green Wave boasts one of the elite tailbacks in college football. Much like his predecessor, Mewelde Moore (2000-03), Forte' is a multi-talented athlete who must be accounted for by the opposition, as he can break free for a long run, take the ball up the middle for tough yardage, catch the ball coming out of the backfield, deliver the big tackle on the special teams coverage unit or utilize his strong arm to complete the option pass.
A creative open-field runner, Forte' has drawn comparisons to Arizona Cardinals standout Edgerrin James, as he shows the same balance, body control and burst to gain valid yardage after the initial hit. He ranks second on the school's career-record lists with 808 rushing attempts for 4,145 yards on the ground, while his 38 scoring runs established the Tulane all-time record. Forte' also became the 11th player in NCAA Subdivision (1-A) history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season during his senior year.
After leading the nation in rushing for a good part of 2007, Forte eventually finished second with 177.3 yards per game. He was also second in scoring with 11.67 points per game and fourth with 201.7 all-purpose yards per game. His five 200-yard games tied the single-season NCAA record held by three players (Marcus Allen of Southern California in 1981, Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State in 1988 and Jamario Thomas of North Texas State in 2004).
In 2007, Forte' gained 620 yards in a two-game span (vs. Southern Methodist and Memphis), the most by a Division 1-A runner since Ricky Williams of Texas gained 668 yards in 1998 (318 vs. Rice and 350 vs. Iowa State). His 2007 three-game span of 829 yards (vs. Southern Methodist, Memphis and Alabama-Birmingham) are the most gained by a Division 1-A runner in three consecutive contests since Sanders totaled 937 yards in 1988. His four-game streak of 1,031 yards (vs. Southern Methodist, Memphis, Alabama-Birmingham and Army) is the most in Division 1-A history since Sanders piled up 1,152 yards in 1988.
An Honor Roll student at Slidell High School, Forte' earned The St. Tammany Parish Player of the Year Award and was named District 5-5A Offensive Most Valuable Player as a senior. The All-Metro selection added second-team All-State honors his final year and was a two-time All-District and All-Parish choice. He also served as team captain and garnered squad MVP honors his senior season.
Forte' amassed 2,432 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns in his career while also catching 48 passes for 618 yards and five scores. He gained 1,375 yards as a senior while averaging 6.7 yards per carry, scoring 23 touchdowns on the ground. He also made 18 catches for 253 yards and a pair of scores. He totaled 1,057 rushing yards with eight touchdowns and caught 30 passes for 365 yards and three scores as a junior. He also lettered in track.
Forte' became the third member of his family to play college football and the second to suit up for Tulane. His father, Gene Forte' played for the team from 1975-77, serving as team captain as a senior. His brother, Bryan Forte', played football at McNeese State in 2004, where he competed as a reserve linebacker, recording 20 tackles (12 solos) with 3.5 stops for losses, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
The talented youngster made an immediate impact during his first season at Tulane, earning Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors. He shared tailback duties with Jovon Jackson, starting the team's final three games. He finished second on the team with 624 yards and four touchdowns on 140 carries (4.5 avg). He added 180 yards and a pair of scores on 20 receptions (9.0 avg) and gained 804 all-purpose yards. He also registered three solo tackles on the punt coverage unit.
Forte' and Jackson would again share the brunt of the rushing load in 2005. Forte' would go on to lead the team with 169 attempts for 655 yards (3.9 avg) and four touchdowns, as he started the first four and final two contests. He ranked fifth on the Green Wave with 23 catches for 163 yards (7.1 avg) and a score, finishing with 818 all-purpose yards.
Forte' received All-Conference USA third-team honors and was named to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association All-State second-team in 2006. He started the first nine games, but suffered a torn meniscus and posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, missing the Green Wave's final three contests. He still led the team in rushing with 163 rushes for 859 yards (5.3 avg) and eight touchdowns. The team's fourth-leading receiver caught 28 passes for 360 yards (12.9 avg) and two scores. He attempted one pass, recovered an onside kickoff and recorded seven tackles on special teams. He totaled 1,219 all-purpose yards, ranking third in the conference with an average of 135.44 yards per game.
Held out of spring drills as he continued to recover from his knee injury, Forte' was primed for a banner senior campaign and certainly surpassed even the wildest of expectations. He reeled off five 200-yard efforts, including four in a row, with two of those performances compiling at least 300 yards.
He rushed 361 times for 2,127 yards and a school season-record 23 touchdowns. He added 32 receptions for 282 yards and returned one kickoff 11 yards. He completed one of 10 passes for four yards.
In 43 career games, Forte' started 30 times. He finished as Tulane's career leader with 99.2 rushing yards per game, 39 rushing touchdowns and 44 total touchdowns. He is second with 5,261 all-purpose yards, 4,265 rushing yards and 833 rushing attempts.