April 26, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane University All-American running back Matt Forté was selected today in 2008 National Football League (NFL) Draft when the Chicago Bears made him the 44th overall player selected and 13th pick of the second round.
Forté was the second player selected by the Bears and the sixth running back taken overall in first two rounds. He is the first Tulane running back to be selected in the NFL Draft since 2004 when the Minnesota Vikings took Mewelde Moore in the fourth round (119th overall) in 2004. Forté is the 35th running back in school history to be selected in the NFL Draft, and the seventh Tulane player to be taken by the Bears since 1937. The last Green Wave standout taken by Chicago was offensive lineman Bernard Robertson in the fifth round (138th overall) in 2001.
"Chicago is a great place," Forté said from his home in Slidell. "Look at the history of their running backs. I want to follow in their footsteps."
Forté, a 6'2", 222-pounder from Slidell, La., is the highest selection by a Tulane player since J.P. Losman's first round (22nd overall) selection by the Buffalo Bills in 2004, and Forté is the highest drafted TU running back since the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Warren Bankston in the second round (42nd overall) in 1969.
Forté is the sixth running back to be selected on a team coached by current Tulane head football coach Bob Toledo since 1974. He joins Karim Abdul-Jabbar (UCLA), DeShaun Foster (UCLA) and Skip Hicks (UCLA), Lionel Manuel (Pacific) and Derek Williams (Cal-Riverside) to be drafted on a Toledo-coached team.
"Matt is very deserving of being picked early in the second round," Toledo said. "Matt is a hard worker and a very productive player, and I believe he will make the Chicago organization proud. He is a great football player and a super person. We are very happy for him and wish him the best of luck with his professional career."
Forté was a four-year letterman and three-year starter for the Green Wave from 2004-08, and concluded his distinguished career ranked second among TU's all-time rushing leaders with 4,265 yards. He started 30 of 43 career games and also ranks among the Green Wave's elite players in several categories, including first for rushing yards per game, (99.186), rushing touchdowns (39) and total touchdowns (44) while ranking second in all-purpose yards (5,261), rushing yards (4,265), rushing attempts (833) and 100-yard rushing games (16), third in total points (266), and fourth in yards per carry (5.12). Forté's points total is the most by a non-kicker and his career receiving totals included 103 receptions for 985 yards and five touchdowns.
During his senior campaign, Forté thrived in the under first-year head coach Bob Toledo's West Coast offense. He set Tulane single-season records with 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns on 361 carries while ranking second on the team with 32 receptions for another 282 yards through the air. His rushing total and 177.2 rushing yards per game average ranked second in the NCAA in 2007, and he also ranked second nationally in scoring with 11.7 points per game.
Forté's 2,127 rushing yards marked the seventh-best single-season rushing total in NCAA history and he became the 11th all-time player in to surpass 2,000 rushing yards in one season. He registered eight games with 100-plus yards, including three 200-plus yard games and two 300-plus yards contests.
Along the way, Forté eclipsed the former Green Wave single-season rushing record of 1,421 set by Mewelde Moore in 2001. His 23 touchdowns in 2007 and 44 career scores are both tops in school history, and his 266 career points (44 TDs, one two-point PAT) ranks third in school history and tops among non-kickers.
A two-time Conference USA and Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honoree, Forté posted five of Tulane's Top 10 single-game rushing performances in 2007, including a C-USA record 342-yard effort on Oct. 20 at SMU which stood as the top individual rushing performance by an NCAA Division I-Bowl Subdivision student-athlete last season. His five touchdowns against Southeastern Louisiana and Rice are also Tulane single-game records and tie a C-USA mark.
Forté completed his collegiate career with an MVP performance in the 2008 Under Armour Senior Bowl where he led all players with 59 yards on eight carries, snared a game-best four receptions for another 38 yards and posted a tackle on special teams in leading Team South to a 17-16 victory.
Forté's outstanding achievements in 2007 netted him numerous accolades, including second-team All-America honors from Sports Illustrated (SI.com), third-team recognition from the Associated Press and Phil Steele Publications, and he was a first team All-Conference USA performer. He was also a Heisman Trophy candidate and was also listed among the semifinalists for both the Doak Walker and Maxwell Awards. Forté also collected the top collegiate award in the state of Louisiana with his selection as the 2007 James J. Corbett Memorial Award which is presented annually to the most outstanding male college athlete in the state.
A three-time All C-USA performer, including a first and second team performer in 2007 and 2006, respectively, Forté was named to the all-league freshman team in 2004. He led Tulane in rushing three of four seasons (2005-07), and completed his career ranked second on Conference USA single-season rushing list. He also ranks third among the league's career leaders in rushing touchdowns, and fourth in both rushing yards and rushing attempts.
A Finance major at Tulane, Forté followed in his father's footsteps as a Green Wave football player. His father, Gene, played football for Tulane from 1975-77 and both served as a team captain during their respective senior years.
Forté joins current Tulane alumni Anthony Cannon (Detroit), Losman (Buffalo), Moore (Pittsburgh), Patrick Ramsey (Denver), Lester Ricard (Jacksonville), Israel Route (Detroit) and Roydell Williams (Tennessee) in the NFL ranks.
Forté's Career Stats
Rushing Year GP/GS Att. Yds. Avg. YPG TD Long/Opp 2004 11/3 140 624 4.5 56.7 4 48/Army 2005 11/6 169 655 3.9 59.5 4 26/Southern Miss 2006 9/9 163 859 5.3 95.4 8 64/Rice 2007 12/12 361 2127 5.9 177.2 23 77/SMU Career 43/30 833 4265 5.1 99.2 39 77/SMU
Receiving Year GP/GS No. Yds Avg. YPG TD Long/Opp 2004 11/3 20 180 9.0 16.4 2 47/Army 2005 11/6 23 163 7.1 14.8 1 24/UCF 2006 9/9 28 360 12.9 40.0 2 49/Houston 2007 12/12 32 282 8.8 23.5 0 28/Miss. State Career 43/30 103 985 9.6 22.9 5 40/Houston
All-Purpose Yards Year Games Rush Rec Return Total Avg/G 2004 11 624 180 0 804 73.1 2005 11 655 163 0 818 74.4 2006 9 859 360 0 1219 135.4 2007 12 2127 282 11 2420 201.7 Career 43 4265 985 11 5261 122.3
Scoring Year Games TD Rush Rec 2PAT Total 2004 11 6 4 2 0 36 2005 11 5 4 1 0 30 2006 9 10 8 2 0 60 2007 12 23 23 0 1 140 Career 43 44 39 5 1 266