The time has come for the full Devon Achane experience.

That’s not a shot at Isaiah Spiller, who had a 3-year career that was much more prolific than most (myself included) probably gave him credit for. Spiller should be one of the first tailbacks selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.

But yeah, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for a full dose of Achane. That in itself could yield an All-American season.

Yes, I realize that’s saying a lot about a guy who has been in a committee for the past 2 years. At 185 pounds, you won’t see Achane in the way-too-early mock drafts. Unlike the even smaller Deuce Vaughn, you won’t see Achane on preseason All-America teams, either. Shoot, the first-team All-SEC honors heading into 2022 will likely belong to Tank Bigsby and Chris Rodriguez as former 1,000-yard backs who will be the focal point of their respective offenses.

Still, though. Achane’s upside in an increased role is through the roof.

It’s not that Achane hasn’t had huge moments on the big stage. His dagger touchdown run at the end of the Orange Bowl was one of the more memorable plays of the 2020 season, and his kickoff return for a touchdown against Alabama was the “oh my gosh, this is actually happening” moment of the 2021 season (notice how late in that run he hits his max speed).

What Achane lacks in early-round NFL projections, he makes up for in off-the-charts playmaking ability. Quite simply, good things happen when he touches the ball. He has a career average of 7.4 yards per carry, and it actually goes up to 7.6 yards per carry against Power 5 competition.

On top of that, Achane had 37.7% of his runs go for a first down or a touchdown, which was No. 4 among FBS running backs in 2021 (via PFF). Achane had a 92.3 PFF rushing grade as a true freshman. That was followed up by a 91.0 PFF rushing grade as a sophomore, which was No. 8 in FBS.

A skeptic would look at that and say that’s just the byproduct of a big play, low-volume guy. But Achane essentially maintained his overall effectiveness from freshman to sophomore year even though he tripled his carries (43 to 130). And in the latter half of the season, he had double-digit carries in each of the final 6 games.

That’s partially why Achane’s sophomore season was so promising. In that 6-game stretch, he averaged 113 scrimmage yards on just 14.5 touches per game. In fact, Achane only played more than 30 snaps twice all year. Compare that to the aforementioned Spiller, who averaged 42 snaps in A&M’s first 10 games.

The regular-season finale was the first time against an FBS opponent in 2021 that we saw Achane get more snaps than Spiller. Part of that was because with LSU stuffing the run, having the more dangerous passing game threat on the field made sense. Naturally, Achane had a career-high 72 receiving yards that night.

There’s no doubt that in addition to no longer sharing carries with a back like Spiller, who had an average of 184 carries the past 2 seasons, Achane will be used frequently in the passing game. Spiller had 20-plus catches each of the last 3 years. Inevitably, Fisher will have a handful of instances per game in which he’ll dare a secondary to match Achane’s speed in man coverage out of the backfield:

And it’s worth noting that Fisher sometimes had Spiller and Achane on the field at the same time. We could see more 2-back looks like this even without Spiller (Ainias Smith would be more than capable of doing that):

Any notion that Achane is a “scatback” or a “change of pace” guy is easily debunked. In 2020, averaged 5.23 yards after contact. In 2021, averaged 4.02 yards after contact, which was tops among all returning SEC backs (via Brent Rollins).

Not bad for a track star.

Of course, speed is his best attribute. Not many dudes are capable of running a 20.31-second time in the 200-meter dash (that was No. 2 at the NCAA’s and No. 33 in the world in 2021). If there’s any sort of drop-off with the track star once he puts the pads on, it sure doesn’t look like it.

The speed, vision, the balance … it’s all there.

There might not be a bigger home-run threat in all of college football than Achane. He has a play of 20-plus yards in each of his past 7 games against Power 5 competition. Something tells me that’ll continue deep into 2022.

Let’s also not forget that A&M’s young offensive line should take a step forward in 2022. The Aggies lost Kenyon Green, who could end up being a first-round pick, but they returned 3 full-time starters and 2 part-time starters. That group will be led by former Colorado State coach Steve Addazio.

The surroundings Achane is working with should be favorable. And perhaps better quarterback play is imminent after finishing No. 13 in the SEC in quarterback rating following the Haynes King injury.

We know that as long as Achane is healthy, he’s due for an uptick in volume. Spiller averaged 19 scrimmage touches per game the last 2 seasons. Each of Fisher’s past 9 offenses has had a back reach 190 scrimmage touches. Achane had 154 scrimmage touches last year, so adding 3 more per game would continue that streak. I’d expect more than that. Maybe it won’t be 2018 Treyveon Williams-type stuff.

Check that. I definitely don’t think Achane is about to have 298 scrimmage touches in 2022.

But it’s realistic to expect Achane to average at least 17-18 touches per game with 16 of those coming in the rushing game. With that type of workload, even if Achane simply maintains 7 yards per carry, he’s flirting with a 1,500-yard season.

Easier said than done? Absolutely. Williams and Tyler Badie are the only SEC backs to hit that mark in the last 6 seasons. Both of them earned second-team All-American honors.

That’s the upside for Achane. There’s no denying that he’s a special player. As the second option in the A&M backfield the last 2 years, good things happened when the ball was in his hands.

Thankfully, there should be a whole lot more of that in 2022.