Prentice, Travis “Touchdown Travis”

ud00spx prenticeCard: SP 2000
Acquired: 2013, Target Autographed Memorabilia

When the Miami (OH) Redhawks were really good, three names always come to mind on offense for the school over roughly the last 15 years: Ben Rothlisberger, Martin Nance, and Travis Prentice. Prentice was a touchdown machine, evidenced by a whopping 25 TDs his Sophomore season, 19 in his Junior season, and finally 17 as a Senior. At the time of his departure from Miami (OH) Travis was a multiple NCAA record holder, most notably with 78 career TDs, -shattering the record previously held by Ricky Williams. His career numbers included 5,596 yards on the ground and an amazing 862 carries without a fumble.

Travis didn’t turn in exactly Earth shattering combine numbers, and came in as the 9th rated back, but the perennially rebuilding Browns under Chris Palmer tabbed Prentice in the 3rd round of the 2000 draft. Behind Cleveland’s shoddy line, things were difficult for Travis. Expected to be the back of the future for the team, he played in all 16 games and rushed for 512 yards and 7 touchdowns- but only averaged 3.0 yards a carry.  The Browns finished at a dismal 3-13 and Palmer and his staff were dismissed. With a new coach in Butch Davis, Travis was cut and signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2001, adding 2 more touchdowns to his resume by the end of the season. Again on the street after the season, Travis signed with the expansion Houston Texans in 2002. Reunited with his head coach Chris Palmer, who was offensive coordinator for the team, Prentice lost out on final cuts to veteran James Allen and 3rd rounder Jonathan Wells. He’d sign with the Cardinals later and looked to make the roster, but at the last second the team signed NFL All-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith. Tired of the journeyman life and the NFL business approach Travis elected to retire. He doesn’t look back on his time in the league with any regrets, and currently works as a professional health and rehabilitation specialist. While many of TD Travis’ records are now being broken, one would suppose it is only a matter of time before he gets into the College Football Hall of Fame with his impressive numbers.

This is a pretty nice card. I was surprised to get not only an autograph, but a patch card to boot.  For a profile shot, it appears that there was some care or design taken in creating it. The 2000 ‘limited’ print run on this card only underlines the circulation problem in the industry.  Overprinting players that are not high in demand is an issue still even today for many of the card publishers and hurts the collectible side of the market. Still I was excited to add TD Travis to my collection. It is these guys who have a heavily accoladed, yet short and rich history that sometimes really catch my eye, almost like a musical one hit wonder.

G/Gs   30      Rush 187      Yds 525     Avg 2.8          Td   9        Lg 17      |
Rec   38        Yds 201    Avg  5.2     Td  1    Lg   13