Unproven, but dynamic: running backs' depth, potential have coaches excited

Dabo Swinney: 'I think that's a position that we have a chance to be greatly improved this season'

Clemson spring football game - D J Howard

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson spring football game - D J Howard

Nobody has proven anything yet.

The question of who'll take the first handoff against Georgia is as uncertain as any on the offensive depth chart.

But is Dabo Swinney worried about Clemson's running backs?

Not a bit.

"I think that's a position that we have a chance to be greatly improved this season," Swinney said. "Our offensive coaches are really excited about the pool of guys that we have there."

Clemson had plenty of healthy competition at the running back position during the spring, and by the time the Tigers hit the field again as a team, position coach Tony Elliott will truly have a stable of backs to work with.

Leading the way are senior D.J. Howard, juniors Zac Brooks and C.J. Davidson, and redshirt freshman Wayne Gallman. Tyshon Dye, another redshirt freshman, should be back from his Achilles tendon injury in time provide more help. And then there's the incoming freshman class of Adam Choice, Jae'lon Oglesby and C.J. Fuller.

"DJ is our senior leader that seems to kind of just gotten over that injury bug that has really hampered him, and he had his best spring," Swinney said. "We're really excited about Zac Brooks. He was a guy that got hurt last year, was making great strides, hurt his shoulder, but he's back and had an excellent spring. He is a very dynamic player.

"Wayne Gallman is a guy that you're going to hear a lot about. He's not a complete player yet because he's still a freshman and we've got a lot of things to teach him and coach him up on, but he is the whole package. But he's going to be, I think, an excellent, excellent player for us this year and as he moves through his career. He has the size that we like."

Davidson, meanwhile, has consistently shown explosive bursts since moving to football from track, where he earned Independent Mail athlete of the years as a senior jumper at Daniel High.

"C.J. is another young guy that really made great strides last year, got hurt right when he was turning the corner, come back and was a factor for us in the Orange Bowl," Swinney said. "He's a very talented junior.

"Those four guys all bring something to we need to the table, and I think it's a very, very deep group."

Add in Dye and the freshmen, and the Tigers will go into the season with their best running back depth in decades.

"We're going to throw in Adam Choice, who's going to arrive here this summer who's an outstanding runner," Swinney said. "And then Tyshon Dye. I keep reminding everybody 'don't forget about Tyshon Dye.' He might be as talented as anybody we have."

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 2

TigerNE writes:

Will Dye be available to help in the first two big games?? I thought he wasn't expected to be good enough to play until maybe October.

KerryCapps writes:

in response to TigerNE:

Will Dye be available to help in the first two big games?? I thought he wasn't expected to be good enough to play until maybe October.

No one really knows at this point...just depends on how he comes along over the summer and what he's able to do during August. The last thing Dabo said was 'at some point,'so everybody's in wait-and-see mode, really. I think mid-season is probably more realistic than GA & FSU.

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