The “X” factor in the Clemson backfield this season could well be C.J. Davidson, who managed to go from “Who’s that?” to a back that many expect to be a contender to lead the Tigers in rushing this season.
Heady stuff for a walk-on with 160 career rushing yards.
Almost all of Davidson’s rushes were against teams that weren’t competitive against Clemson (33 of 34 attempts came against S.C. State, Wake, Syracuse and Virginia) in garbage time last season making it difficult to project how he will fare with more chances against better competition.
Still, I saw enough to think that this C.J. will get a shot in the rotation of backs come late August and early September.
It’s how he handles those chances that will define whether the numbers below are high or low (or less likely, right on).
Breakout Season: 120 carries, 552 yards, 9 TDs
Bust: 35 carries, 130 yards, 1 TD
2014 Outlook: 88 carries, 405 yards, 7 TDs
Wayne Gallman, he of 0 collegiate carries and snaps, leads the poll to right on which back will lead Clemson in rushing in 2014.
Gallman is listed in a jumble of backs with “or” between them behind D.J. Howard on the depth chart and a redshirt last year means Gallman plays this year. The question is how much.
You may have noticed a trend in my forecasts for running backs this season. I have little idea how much of any of them will play and believe at this point the position is as wide open as it has been in my recent memory.
There’s no Davis, Spiller, Ellington or even McDowell. This position is a huge question mark and I believe multiple players will get an opportunity to put their stamp on it, but it’s less of a crap shoot to project numbers when you have an established player with history. We’re not so lucky this year and this becomes almost like spinning the wheel on Wheel of Fortune and wondering what running back it will land on.
Breakout Season: 120 carries, 575 yards, 7 TDs
Bust: 30 carries, 130 yards, 1 TD
2014 Outlook: 77 carries, 354 yards, 5 TDs