When a walk-on running back can crack the top-three, providing an extra burst and widening redshirt options for first-year scholarship players, it's like icing on the cake for a recruiting coaching staff.
The Tigers' coaches don't believe they're sacrificing anything by putting former Daniel High star C.J. Davidson into the thick of battle.
He's earned his spot, first by catching the attention of his coaches in the spring and now by following up with a strong preseason camp.
With junior D.J. Howard hampered by an ankle injury, he'll go into Georgia week as the Tigers' No. 3 running back behind Rod McDowell and Zac Brooks.
"I think we have seen flashes," Chad Morris said after practice on Tuesday. "He just didn't know what to do in the spring. I do think he has had a camp that has exceeded our expectations.
"He has spent a lot of time this summer learning the offense and he has been right there with everybody. So I'm excited about him."
Davidson made his debut last season, earning playing time on special teams and rushing for five yards on two carries in two games.
He impressed running backs coach Tony Elliott last fall with his work on the scout team, and then reinforced his position as a part of the mix in the spring.
"C.J. is a Division I athlete," Elliott said during Clemson pre-camp media day. "He turned down some D1 offers so he could run track here at Clemson, and he has been a big surprise for us. I really feel like that with C.J., I have four guys that I can count on."
Davidson won state titles in both the long jump and triple jump as a junior at Daniel, and midway through his senior season, he set a new state record in the long jump at 23-9.
During his senior spring, he came up just short of successfully defending his state title in the long jump, but then came back the next day and won the triple jump. He was honored as the Independent Mail's area track athlete of the year.
Davidson competed as a freshman at Clemson, and posted top-10 ACC marks both indoors and outdoors before dropping off the track team to pursue football.
If Davidson can establish himself as a viable and productive member of Clemson's top four, the coaches may the option of redshirting first-year freshmen Wayne Gallman and Tyshon Dye. Both will likely be prepared for action early, with decisions made on a game-by-game basis.