CLEMSON – Soon enough, Clemson will release a post-spring depth chart, giving an idea in a crowded running back picture.
Three upperclassmen – senior D.J. Howard and juniors Zac Brooks and C.J. Davidson and one freshman, redshirt Wayne Gallman – went to work to form the one-through-four going into the summer. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said they had “excellent chemistry” and competed “their tail off.”
With possibly two or more in the mix come August (freshmen Tyshon Dye and Adam Choice), it’s a spot of intrigue and emphasis in an offense that will have a different look this fall.
“We’re going to make it happen,” Brooks said. “Offensive line did a good job (in the spring game). The running backs as a unit – we’re going to make it happen. We consider ourselves the heartbeat of the team and we’re going to keep pumping.
“We’re just going into the ‘transformation’ stage. Everybody is trying to perfect their craft. Film study, get bigger and stronger in the weight room.”
Brooks has looked the part of a No. 1 in glimpses, but hasn’t had many chances over his first two years on the field.
Last season, the Jonesboro, Ar. product averaged 5.1 yards per carry, but missed the majority of the final four games with a shoulder injury. He was third behind Rod McDowell and Tajh Boyd in 10-plus yard runs (7).
Healthy after offseason surgery on that shoulder, Brooks led all backs in the spring game with 11 carries, going for 50 yards.
Before meeting the media recently, he said he talked his Dad about his feel on the RB race going into another phase of the offseason. There may not be a harsher critic on Brooks’ game, than his own.
“I’m the type of guy that whenever I’m not happy with my performance I’ll grade myself two steps down,” he said. “I feel like I’m far away from where I need to be right now. I’ll probably say second or third (team). Because I feel like there’s a lot more I can do from what’s been shown.”
Brooks will find out just like the rest of us on who may or may not be ahead of him on the depth chart.
“Who would be first? I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know who would be first or second, but I just don’t feel like I would be first right now.”