Travis Homer: Still Underrated

Travis Homer

Historically, the Miami Hurricanes are in the conversation with any school when it comes to producing star running backs. That’s how it has been for decades. Recently, the position has begun to emerge once again. Currently, the next in line to lead that position is none other than West Palm Beach native, Travis Homer. Last season he waited in the wings of Mark Walton until he was injured against Florida State. After that game, Homer took the reigns of the starting job and excelled. A season later, he is now the undisputed starter and looks to have an even better season as the headliner.

The Waiting Game

After the dismissal of Al Golden, many of the high school players that Miami had committed to them were in an awkward position. With their future hanging in limbo, and time constantly ticking, they waited on Miami to announce who would take over. When Mark Richt was announced as the head coach, he made Travis Homer a priority in staying committed to the class.

After Homer arrived at Miami, more waiting would ensue. Not shying away from competition, he committed to the Hurricanes understanding that there would be a battle among the depth chart. He didn’t allow that to sour his plans. Rather than redshirt, Homer looked for a role in which he could contribute immediately.

Special Teams Sensation

During that year, Homer found his niche covering punts and kicks on Miami’s special team’s unit. As a true freshman, he played a key role, consistently being one of the first players down the field. On the season he would total eight tackles, five of which being solo tackles. That effort ultimately got Homer recognized by his coaches and teammates. On the road at Notre Dame, it was announced that Homer would be a team captain that game. He lived up to his billing, recovering a fumbled punt which gave Miami momentum to come back from 20 points but lose a nail-biter on the road.

Looking back on the season, the coaches were high on Homer’s progress in just his first season. Going into the spring of his freshman year, Homer would see elevation in another role too. Due to players opting to leave early for the NFL and transferring, he rose from the fourth string to the backup running back.

Homer To The Rescue

The Hurricanes dependence on Homer would increase in year two. Homer had his chance when incumbent starter Walton went down in the fourth game of the year. Up to that point, Homer had shown he was very reliable in spot situations. As the backup, he scored two touchdowns against Toledo and ran for over 100 yards in the season opener. He also broke a long touchdown run against Duke. However, none of these accomplishments occurred as the main guy. In his first game starting against Georgia Tech, Homer rushed for career-high 170 yards in the rain helping Miami come back to win. A 33-yard touchdown run against Syracuse in his next game helped to secure another Miami victory.

Home-Run Homer

As a team, Miami had its fair share of success. But, it’s important to note that offensively the Hurricanes were at their best when Homer was getting the ball. In games that Homer has received 15 or more carries, the team is undefeated. Of course, the simple solution is not to just feed Homer the ball, but achieve balance which allows the offense to run smoother. Much of that has to do with the ability to be a bruiser in the fourth quarter. With his running style, it becomes increasingly difficult to tackle Homer for an entire game. This past season alone he had at least six rushes of 20 yards or more in the fourth quarter.

Looking Forward

The season ended with Homer being 34 yards shy of 1,000 yards on the season although he wasn’t named the starter until the fifth game. He also finished with over 1,200 all-purpose yards. Homer was also named second team All-ACC by the coaches despite finishing seventh in the conference in rushing yards. With the new season upcoming, Homer has been named to several preseason lists such as the Doak Walker award.

Coaches have also identified Homer as a leader even though he is a quiet person. He has also improved throughout the spring and was clocked at a 4.31 in the 40-yard dash. The Hurricanes will have their hands full in the season opener against LSU, but as the Hurricanes are coming off of a three game losing streak, they are eager to get back to winning.