Ask a coach what can keep a talented freshman running back off the field and that’s what he will tell you. The outgoing Andre Ellington, though small in size, was one of the best at the FBS-level in keeping the heat off his QB Tajh Boyd.
Enter a pair of Peach State four-star tailbacks, Elbert’s Tyshon Dye and Grayson’s Wayne Gallman to an already crowded, yet largely unproven backfield and it gets very interesting.
They both have the size (6-foot plus, around 200 pounds) that can help in the blocking game, and their respective high school reputations say they’re ready to come in and contribute.
Over the last two seasons, Gallman topped 1,500 rushing yards with 19 scores his junior and senior years combined – also a standout linebacker for Grayson.
Dye had his 2012 season cut short for Elbert’s Blue Devils due to a broken ankle, but he did enough and more to capture national attention with over 1,500 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns his junior year.
Freshmen RB production in the Clemson offense (since C.J. Spiller)…
2012 Zac Brooks: 26 carries – 119 yards – 4.6 YPC
2011 D.J. Howard (redshirt): 41 carries – 230 yards – 5.6 YPC – 1 TD
2009 Andre Ellington (redshirt): 68 carries – 491 yards – 7.2 YPC – 4 TD
2008 Jamie Harper: 34 carries – 133 yards – 3.9 YPC – 1 TD
2006 C.J. Spiller: 129 carries – 938 yards – 7.3 YPC – 10 TDs
Outside of all-world talent C.J. Spiller, there’s a difference in the numbers between a freshman and a freshman with a redshirt year, which could lead to one of the two incoming backs to sit a year. Remember, Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper both stepped on campus in 2008, but Ellington redshirted. That worked out pretty well for him, while Harper was drafted as a junior.
But another year with just one back moving on (Rod McDowell) and a couple 2014 RB pledges already – it wouldn’t be surprising to see both play anyway.
Projection – Brandon Rink (O&W)
2013 Outlook: Tyshon Dye – 24 carries – 120 yards – 5 YPC – 1 TD; Wayne Gallman – 14 carries – 63 yards – 4.5 YPC (14 games)
The Tigers have a number of running backs who could see the field this season – yet just one football.
The trio with experience sees a good share of the carries, but Dye and Gallman still see the field to get their feet wet for contributions needed as soon as next season.
Projection – Marty Coleman (Seldom Used Reserve)
SUR 2013 Forecast: RBs Tyshon Dye, Wayne Gallman (12 games)
There is some comfort in using historical numbers in predicting future performance and I’ve readily shared that’s how I come up with a large portion of my forecast for yardage and such. It seems to me to be a more realistic approach to projecting what will happen on the field instead of typing up “champagne wishes and caviar dreams."
Then there are the true freshmen where no data exists at the collegiate level to give you a clue about how a player will make the transition…With three scholarship running backs on the team, either Dye or Gallman will play. And I believe only one of them will play. And I believe it is Dye who will play and Gallman will redshirt.
Playing one and redshirting one also creates nice symmetry in the backfield. If this occurs, McDowell is a senior, Howard a junior, Brooks a sophomore, Dye a freshman and Gallman a redshirt…I looked at the historical trends of Clemson running backs that were rated at the same general level as Dye and Gallman, and then factored in a projected number of carries based on those trends and the carries I have forecasted for other backs in 2013. Check out more of Coleman’s analysis here.
More 2013 Forecasts