It's easy to see how talented Texas Tech transfer Corey Dauphine will help Tulane win when he becomes eligible to play in the fall of 2018.
The way he's tearing it up at practice every day, though, has convinced coach Willie Fritz he can aid the Green Wave’s cause right away.
“I’m going to make a point in one of our team meetings about how this guy is ineligible, but he practices like he’s going to get 30 carries a game,” Fritz said. “He’s going to get zero, I can guarantee you that this year. He’s helping us win just by his attitude and effort. He’s a fun guy to be around.”
He’s a fun guy to watch, too, running with authority and speed in a running back-friendly system. With each day, he is wiping away the frustration of being virtually ignored for two years at pass-happy Texas Tech despite being a four-star recruit out of Port Arthur, Texas.
After being redshirted in 2015, he carried twice for 25 yards in the Red Raiders’ opener against Stephen F. Austin last year before sliding down the depth chart and never touching the ball again.
“They didn’t really give me a reason,” he said. “I asked one of the coaches, and he just told me to keep working hard, I’m a good back, I’m a great back. But he (implied) I wasn’t a good fit for the offense, that I’m more of a power back.”
The possibilities in Fritz’s offense, which led the nation in rushing at Georgia Southern in 2014 and 2015, are tantalizing. For now, Dauphine is a practice warrior while seniors Dontrell Hilliard and Sherman Badie, sophomore Darius Bradwell and freshman Stephon Huderson vie for playing time.
Next year, Dauphine expects a huge role, reminiscent of his senior year at Port Arthur, when he rushed for 1,215 yards on 179 carries (a 6.8-yard average).
“The major reason I came here was they run the ball and the opportunity for playing time,” he said. “They’ve got two running backs about to leave, and then it’s going to be time for me to step up and be a leader. They are going to have a lot in store for me and will try to find ways to use me. This offense fits me perfectly.”
Dauphine agrees with the Texas Tech coach who labeled him a power back, given his 6-foot, 200-pound frame, but he also likes the way the Wave has used him as a receiver at times while running him inside and outside.
The practices have been fun, keeping his mind off the 13-month separation from his first real action. He already has talked to Green Wave basketball player Jordan Cornish about the excruciating wait ahead of him as a Division I transfer.
Cornish, who sat out last season after transferring from UNLV, recently described it as “the longest year" of his life.
To this point, Dauphine is making the most of every day.
“I just try to motivate my teammates and keep them going,” he said. “I’ll do whatever I need to do on the scout team. I’ll help them as much as I can.”
NOTE: Tulane held its first scrimmage of preseason camp at the Saints' indoor facility Friday morning, using referees from the AAC. The workout ended about a minute after reporters were let into the facility, and Fritz described it as predictably choppy. “It looked sloppy as all get out, but it always looks sloppy the first time you do it,” he said. “We'll get better and better and better. Organized chaos is what you want it to end up looking like. We've been going pretty hard for quite a while now, and it probably isn't an ideal time to have a scrimmage when you're maybe not feeling 100 percent mentally and physically, but you've got to be able to do it.”