Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
Louisiana-Lafayette running back Tyrell Fenroy has several new friends this week and even several new family members. People, he said, seem to pop into your life when you're on the verge of history.
Fenroy is 30 yards from a 1,000-yard rushing season, which would make him just the seventh rusher in NCAA history to have four 1,000-yard seasons and the first since DonTrell Moore did it for New Mexico from 2002-05.
Adding to the irony, this also will be the 1,000th known football game ever played at Louisiana-Lafayette.
"I now have more family members than I've seen in I don't know how many years and all of a sudden they're popping up and I'm hearing from them," Fenroy said. "The same thing with friends that I probably haven't talked to since my freshman year of high school. All of a sudden they're popping up and trying to get in the picture. I think it's kind of funny. It shows me a lot about those people. My true friends and my true family members were the ones who were there when we weren't winning and when I wasn't doing good."
Fenroy said he's had to get 50 tickets for Saturday's game against Florida International as opposed to 14 last year when he hit 1,000 yards and somewhere around seven his first two seasons. Fenroy said his mother, father, brother, grandfather and a few cousins have been with him the entire way -- the rest are just along for the ride.
And what a ride it's been.
This is the first time Fenroy has reached 1,000 yards before the second-to-last game. During both his freshman and junior seasons, he didn't reach the 1,000-yard mark until the last game of the season. After Saturday's game, Louisiana-Lafayette has four games remaining and a possible bowl game. ESPN.com projects Fenroy to finish with 1,663 yards this season, which would be a career best.
"[The record] is a great tribute to him and our football team and the offensive line that's blocked for him," Louisiana-Lafayette coach Rickey Bustle said. "It seems like it's taken the last game or two to get to that 1,000-yard mark, but this year, he's a step faster and he's outrun people, which he was always close to doing in previous years. [It] has given him some extra yardage."
Bustle noted extra commitment from Fenroy during the spring and the offseason that he hadn't seen in the previous three seasons. Fenroy agreed with that sentiment stating that every offseason prior to this one, he's always known that he's had another year to fall back on. But as a senior whose team is on the cusp of its first winning season since 2005, Fenroy said this offseason was more important than any he'd ever been through.
"Reality hit me that this is my senior year and I have to be a leader, this is my last time playing with this group of guys," Fenroy said. "It all hit me and made me want to work harder and do the right thing."
When Fenroy hits 1,000 yards this weekend, Louisiana-Lafayette plans to stop the game. The official will present Fenroy the game ball. Bustle will come out to the field to take pictures and share the moment with his running back while the PA announcer reads a short script about Fenroy's accomplishments.
No one will be happier than Fenroy when that moment is over. He said the quest for the record has been all anyone has talked about the past few weeks and that it's detracting away from the Ragin' Cajuns run for first place in the Sun Belt.
Fenroy's never been the type of player to seek the spotlight, so constantly being thrust into it has placed him out of his element and tempted him to lose focus.
"Once I get this out of the way, I won't really have to worry about getting, I don't want to say 'hounded,' but getting talked about or losing focus," Fenroy said. "Once we get this out of the way, we can start thinking about trying to win this game on Saturday and it's a straight shot from there as far as focusing on each game after that leading up the road to the conference championship."