Frank Gore Jr. Is Generating the Hype Needed to Become College Football’s Next Star Running Back

A certain generation of college football fans is old enough to remember Frank Gore shredding opposing defenses on the Miami Hurricanes. Now, their children will get to watch his son do the same thing. 

If it sounds like we’re putting too much hype on Frank Jr., a second-year running back at the University of Southern Mississippi, then you need to acquaint yourself with his film — and quickly. 

Gore Jr. is building hype after a strong true freshman season

Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr. in 2020.
Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr. appears bound for stardom after a strong freshman season | Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There weren’t many attentions to pay attention to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles during the 2020 pandemic-shortened season. However, younger Gore gave fans at least one reason to watch those games.

In 10 games for the Golden Eagles, Gore ran for 708 yards and two touchdowns on 5.9 yards per carry. He also turned nine catches into 97 yards and a touchdown. He had three outings with over 100 rushing yards, including a 130-yard performance against the North Texas Mean Green last October.

Gore ran for a 73-yard touchdown in the Golden Eagles’ season-finale in a 45-31 upset victory over the Florida Atlantic Owls. Originally, he intended to sign with FAU before flipping to Southern Miss in December 2019.

Gore could be a dark horse All-American pick in 2021

We admit it sounds crazy to suggest a young running back on a mid-major program coming off a dismal year could be in the running for All-American honors in 2021. But let the record show such a feat has been done before.

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary played with Frank Sr. in 2019. But before then, Singletary ran for nearly 2,000 yards and 32 touchdowns at FAU in 2017. A year after going 3-9, the Owls went 11-3 under Lane Kiffin and won both Conference USA and the Boca Raton Bowl.

Singletary earned AP second-team All-American honors after that excellent sophomore season. He had the jukes and spin moves to miss tackles at a stunning rate. Gore Jr. can do the same thing, and he did exactly that as a true freshman. According to Pro Football Focus, Gore Jr. forced an average of .34 missed tackles per attempt in 2020, which tied him for the most in the sport.

No one here is projecting Southern Miss to win Conference USA or get into the College Football Playoff talk. But if Gore builds off his impressive freshman year highlights, don’t be surprised to see him rank with the country’s top running backs in a few months.

Will Frank Gore Sr. and his son play in the NFL together?

Because the elder Gore appeared immortal, it became easy to joke he and his son would eventually play together. But as recently as the fall of 2020, that didn’t seem so unrealistic. 

While his son progressed through his first college season, the older Gore played in 15 games for the Jets. However, it seems unlikely that the two will ever play together in a meaningful NFL game. Gore Sr. remained unsigned as of publication and turned 38 on May 14. He will be 40 years old when Gore Jr. potentially makes his NFL debut in 2023.

It’s a fun idea to think about, but the NFL doesn’t lend itself to those types of concepts. Even if Gore Sr. caught on somewhere else later this year and played well, would an NFL team really want to use a roster spot on a 40-year-old running back in 2023?

For now, let’s focus on the younger Gore’s future. If football fans are lucky, they’ll get to watch him run through defenses for the next two decades the way that we have with the elder Gore.

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