Tigers hope for talent infusion at running back

Anderson Independent MailDecember 21, 2013 

S Carolina St Clemson Football

Clemson running back D.J. Howard will be the only senior in Tigers' backfield next season.


  • Tiger rush

    A class-by-class breakdown of Clemson’s 2014 running backs, with games played, starts and snaps for 2013:

    Senior: D.J. Howard (12, 0, 171)

    Juniors: Zac Brooks (10, 0, 139), C.J. Davidson (9, 0, 90)

    Sophomores: None

    Redshirt Freshmen: Tyshon Dye, Wayne Gallman

    First-Year Freshmen: Adam Choice, Jae’lon Oglesby, C.J. Fuller

— Clemson’s backfield will have a new look next season — one way or another.

Either D.J. Howard, Zac Brooks or C.J. Davidson will step up into a mainstay role at running back, or the Tigers will transition the position into the hands of five of their youngest players: Wayne Gallman, Tyshon Dye, Jae’lon Oglesby, Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller.

Whatever happens when the competition begins, the Tigers will have the deepest stable of backs yet to arm Chad Morris’ offense.

As a group, the backs are bigger, faster and stronger than in the past — a reflection of the direction Morris wants to go with his offense.

Another power-back option at position coach Tony Elliott’s disposal will be rising sophomore Jay Jay McCullough, who was recruited for the hybrid tight end-running back role and made his backfield debut against The Citadel.

Howard, Brooks and Davidson combined for 400 snaps, 138 carries and 635 yards this season behind mainstay Rod McDowell, who played 538 snaps and rushed 177 times for 956 yards.

Both Gallman and Dye redshirted this fall — Dye because of a back injury that eventually required surgery, and Gallman by choice. Gallman will join the competition this spring, while Dye will be limited as he continues to rehab but should be good to go for summer workouts.

If Gallman and Dye can push the returning veterans during preseason work, the coaching staff may be able to exercise the same option with Oglesby, Fuller and Choice, all of whom will arrive next summer.

With Clemson’s recruiting done for the 2014 cycle, the Tigers are evaluating 2015 running back prospects and have offers out to about a dozen players.

For 2016, Clemson has offered Tavien Feaster of Spartanburg.

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