LaDainian Tomlinson at TCU: Revisiting running back’s Hall of Fame career with Horned Frogs

Few players hold a more prominent place in TCU football history than Ladainian Tomlinson.

Indeed, famous quarterbacks Sammy Boe and Davey O’Brien are the only players whose fame extends beyond their school affiliation to college football as a whole. A not-to-be-defeated year-long career, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at both the college football and professional levels.

TCU’s appearance in the 2023 College Football Playoff Championship Game will naturally revive interest in Tomlinson’s college career. Tomlinson won’t be able to match top-ranked Georgia for the national title, but he can watch his alma mater challenge for the national title.

Sporting News revisits Tomlinson’s college career at TCU.

MORE: Is TCU’s Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson related to LaDainian Tomlinson?

Where did LaDainian Tomlinson go to college?

Tomlinson played four seasons for TCU from 1997-2000. In his first two seasons Basil became a star in his final two seasons at Fort Worth after he served as Mitchell’s backup.

LaDainian Tomlinson TCU Stats

Tomlinson finished his TCU career with 943 carries for 5,387 yards and 56 touchdowns, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. All the more impressive considering that his last two seasons have yielded the majority of these figures.

Tomlinson was promoted to starter before his junior year in 1999, rushing 304 times for 1,974 yards (6.5 yards per carry) and 20 touchdowns. He had 2,058 yards from scrimmage that year.

That season, he finished in several major league yards (second behind Ron Dane), yards per carry (fourth), touchdowns (tied for first with Dane), and yards from scrimmage (first). Rush stats top 5.

Tomlinson improved his play in 2000. That year, he was unanimously selected for the All-American selection and won the Doak Walker Award. His yards-per-carry average dropped from 6.5 to 5.8, but he improved his yards rushing (2,158 yards), touchdowns (22), and yards from scrimmage (2,198) over the previous year.

Read more: Has TCU ever won a national football championship? History of Horned Frog’s best seasons

Tomlinson jumped into the 5th overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft in his last two years at Fort Worth, becoming an 11-year player in the league. Below are his year-by-year stats at TCU.

Year rush yard YPC touchdown scrimmage yard
1997 126 538 4.3 6 647
1998 144 717 5.0 8 751
1999 304 1,974 people 6.5 20 2,058
year 2000 369 2,158 5.8 twenty two 2,188
career 943 5,387 5.7 56 5,654

TCU officially retired Tomlinson’s number 5 jersey in 2005. In 2014, 14 years after his last game in purple and white, he was inducted into his College Football Hall of Fame.

Additionally, Tomlinson holds the TCU rushing record for yards and touchdowns in one game, one season and one career.

  • Single Game Rush: 406 yards
  • 1 season rush: 2,158 yards
  • Career Rush: 5,387 yards
  • Single Game Rush TD: six
  • Single Season Rush TD: twenty two
  • Career Rush TD: 56

This includes a phenomenal performance against UTEP in 1999 when Tomlinson rushed 43 times for 406 yards and 6 touchdowns. In doing so, Tomlinson became the first player in a game in which he achieved 400 or more rushing yards. This held until 2014 when both Melvin Gordon and Samaje Perrin topped his total.

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