Dreams can be fun and exciting, and inspire great things in ordinary people. But at the end of the day implementing a dream has to be based in reality.
James Davis got a reality check just hours before his college football career would be officially over and an uncertain NFL future would begin.
Had the Clemson rushing star signed with an agent and moved forward with his professional plans, he would’ve made some money. Not Darren McFadden money, mind you, but the young man wouldn’t be forced to dig under his couch cushions in search of enough change to buy a taco.
But sometimes, delayed gratification can be the best kind. Maybe that’s why when he almost stepped over the threshold of no return, he opted to step back into the Tigers’ backfield next fall.
Certainly Tommy Bowden thinks it was the right decision. When Davis announced he was ready to play for pay, Bowden wished him well — but also said the runner’s stock would rise if he came back for another season.
And Davis will have every opportunity to upgrade his status from a possible third round selection to a first round pick.
If he rushes for 837 yards next season, Davis will be the all-time Clemson career rushing leader.
If he scores 13 touchdowns, he’ll be the school’s all-time touchdown leader.
If he does both, he could conceivably be the catalyst that gives the Tigers an Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and a shot at an even bigger crown.
“In the final analysis he realizes this is the best decision for him and his family,” Bowden said. “This decision will give him a much better opportunity to graduate, which I know is important to James and his family. He will certainly be one of the leaders of our team next year, just as he has been the last three years. His draft status will be much higher after another year at Clemson.
“He should be one of the top running backs in the nation next year.”
Ultimately, Davis’ dream is to play in the National Football League. It’s hard to find a player of his caliber who doesn’t have such aspirations.
But sometimes waiting — holding on and holding out just a little bit longer — can reap bigger and better rewards.
When Davis described his change of heart, he said it came to him in the middle of the night.
“(Returning) was always on my mind and my mom had talked to me about it. I woke up at 3 a.m. and thought, ‘I think I want to go back to school.’ If you look at it, we have great players on our team and I think my stock can’t do anything but go up. We can compete for the ACC championship and a national title, and that can help, too.”
Sounds like a realistic way to chase a dream.
And his decision should also help Clemson football fans sleep a whole lot better.