Kimani Vidal becomes Troy’s Rushing King

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, November 8, 2023

During Troy’s win over rival South Alabama last Thursday, junior running back Kimani Vidal became the school’s all-time leading rusher.

Vidal now sits at 3,467 career rushing yards, surpassing Troy Hall of Famer DeWhitt Betterson’s 3,441 yards. Vidal has been etching his name in Troy’s record books all season long, as he already broke the single game rushing record, and then broke his own record just weeks later.

“It feels great,” Vidal said of breaking the record. “I knew I was in striking distance (of the record) at the beginning of the season and I did make it a goal of mine to be the leading rusher. I’m grateful I was able to get it.”

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Vidal’s record comes at a program that has a storied history of running backs and elite rushing attacks with Vidal now sitting atop a list of Trojan greats like Betterson, Ted Horstead, Jordan Chunn, Shawn Southward, DuJuan Harris, Mike Turk, Brandon Burks and others.

Making it an even better moment was that Betterson was not only at the game but presented Vidal with the game ball after the win.

“It was a great moment, probably the best moment I’ve had so far,” Vidal said with a smile. “It’s up there. I’ve been blessed to be able to be put in that position to be able to do it and I’m really grateful for it.”

DeWhitt Betterson Jr. is also currently on the team and is a friend of Vidal.

“It’s kind of funny, he told me to break (the record) before this game and even before the season started,” Vidal said of the younger Betterson. “He told me, ‘You have to break it.’”

Kimani Vidal won SBC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 245 yards against Arkansas State. (Photo courtesy of Troy University Athletics)

Troy Coach Jon Sumrall has heaped praise on Vidal from the minute Sumrall arrived at Troy, on and off the field.

“I talk a lot around here about how better people, make better players and if they were all Kimanis on this team they wouldn’t need me,” Sumrall flatly said. “Anyone could be the head coach here if that was the case. He is an absolute rock star. He’s a fantastic player but also one of the best people I have ever been around in this game. I’m so grateful for all of his hard work.”

Breaking a record that he set out to break was made even sweeter by doing it in the midst of defeating rival South Alabama yet again.

“I really think that when I first got here it was the standard to beat South,” Vidal emphasized. “We’re just continuing that.”

During his Trojan career Vidal has amassed 3,467 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns on 680 rushing attempts. The yardage is first in Troy history, the carries also rank first in school history and the touchdowns rank fifth in the program’s history. He’s also just the second Trojan ever to average more than five yards per carry with more than 400 rushing attempts.

Vidal also owns three of the top four rushing games in school history – including the single-game record – and he’s now within striking distance of owning the single-season rushing record. Vidal now has 1,118 yards this season with at least four more games to come and just 219 yards shy of the record.

Vidal isn’t just making noise at Troy, either. His rushing totals rank second in the entire nation and first amongst Sun Belt and all Group of 5 runners. The secret to all of this success, though, has been Vidal’s relentless hard work.

“We do ‘The Gauntlet’ in the offseason, which is pretty much ‘Gut Check’ time,” Sumrall said. “We come in around six in the morning and I roll in about 4:30 a.m. and Kimani will already be in the weight room with his gallon jug of water. He’s a pro’s pro.

“The secret to his success is hard work and consistency. You never wonder whose going to show up when it comes to Kimani. I know he’ll show up.”