The latest out of Hattiesburg, Miss.: Frank Gore Jr. is still making football fans around the world feel their age.
While those fans check themselves for wrinkles, the young Gore — son of the New York Jets running back — is in his true freshman season at Southern Miss. The athletic Gore, who stands 5 feet 8 inches and weighs 165 pounds, has quickly found a role for the Golden Eagles.
Gore Jr. just put college football on notice in a big way with his breakout outing to start October.
Frank Gore Jr. is a true freshman at Southern Miss
Recruiting services use the star-system to gauge how good a player is and what their potential could be at the next level. The best players, the star quarterbacks and defensive backs who land at programs like Alabama or Clemson, earn five-star rankings.
247 Sports not only listed Frank Gore Jr. as a three-star prospect, but the nation’s 65th-best running back prospect in the class of 2020.
Gore signed with Southern Miss in December and enrolled early. He had previously been committed to play for Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic, but flipped to Southern Miss on signing day; by that point, Kiffin was at Ole Miss and FAU had hired Willie Taggart, the ex-Florida State coach, as its next full-time head coach.
Despite only being a true freshman, Gore opened the 2020 season playing a heavy role in the Golden Eagles’ offense. Gore totaled 32 yards on 12 carries in his debut, a 32-21 loss to South Alabama on September 4.
Gore Jr. had a breakout game against North Texas
Frank Gore upped his output to 39 yards on six carries against rival Louisiana Tech on September 19, another Golden Eagles loss.
That was Southern Miss’ first game after head coach Jay Hopson suddenly resigned. Gore only picked up seven yards on five carries in an ugly loss to Tulane a week later, a game where Southern Miss allowed 66 points at home.
Then came Gore’s breakout game on October 3. Taking the lion’s share of the running back carries, Gore picked up 130 yards on 23 carries, an excellent 5.7 yards per carry average. Gore also had an 8-yard reception in the Golden Eagles’ 41-31 road victory at North Texas.
With Southern Miss already up 7-3 in the first quarter, Gore ran 11 yards downfield for his first collegiate touchdown.
Two days after playing in his own game, Frank Gore Sr. tweeted he was a “proud papa” watching his son score.
All eyes should be on Frank Gore Jr. going forward
Not every college football player hits the ground running in their first game, and Frank Gore Jr.’s breakout game came against a free-falling North Texas team.
Still, there is a reason why Gore earned as much early playing time as he did. Southern Miss is confident about the true freshman and they’re ready to invest in Gore’s stock, especially in a year where every team is bowl eligible.
Gore’s next test is against those same FAU Owls. FAU defeated Charlotte, 21-17, on October 3 and only allowed 82 rushing yards on two yards per attempt.
The victory over Charlotte was FAU’s first game after numerous COVID-19 related cancelations.
Football fans eager to see Gore Jr. can watch the game — scheduled for Saturday, October 10 — on the Stadium network. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET from Hattiesburg, Miss.