Looking ahead: Can incoming RB talent push veteran trio for playing time?

Four-man competition this spring among D.J. Howard, Zac Brooks, C.J. Davidson, Wayne Gallman

Clemson football - Wayne Gallman

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson football - Wayne Gallman

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 its 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 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 currently have offers out to about a dozen players.

Players of interest include Taj Griffin of Powder Springs, Ga., Mikell Lands-Davis of Douglasville, Ga., Eric Sweeney of Tyrone, Ga., Nyheim Hines of Garner, N.C., Bryce Love of Wake Forest, N.C., Jacques Patrick of Orlando, Fla., Jordan Cronkrite of Miami, Fla., Ray McCloud of Tampa, Fla., Kerryon Johnson of Madison, Ala., Traveon Samuel of Phenix City, Ala., Quadree Henderson of Wilmington, Del., and Chris Warren of Rockwall, Texas.

For 2016, Clemson has offered Tavien Feaster of Spartanburg, S.C.

Following is a class-by-class breakdown of Clemson's running backs, with games played, starts and snaps for the 2013 season:

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

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Comments » 3

TigerNE writes:

Are there any more uncommitted class of 14 backs with offers who are possible commits? Wasn't there a kid out of Durham who we have pursued for example? Recently I read somewhere that he made an official visit to NC State. Surely we can pull him from them, no? It's not like we really need to fill a void, though.

I think Brooks may be the star next season. So many think Dye will eventually be the standout. But I wonder if that happens next year, or after.

Xander5000 writes:

Can incoming RB talent push veteran trio? Absolutely they can. Gallman and Dye can certainly be the main two doing most of the pushing. Adam Choice may be the dark-horse in the mix depending how fast he catches on. Oglesby will need more size in a hurry in my opinion. CJ Davidson and DJ Howard should be on alert though. DJ Howard should really stick with and work on inside the trenches running and go from there. I think Howard should be on extra high alert next spring and summer because Gallman and Dye will be hungry....especially Gallman. Dye may be hungry as well but that back problem he had must be 100% first.....then we will know.

tigerrob44 writes:

Do we have any 6'2" 220lb 4.3 guys coming in? If so that's your guy. Boy, ain't I a smart one.

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