Offensive position battles

When spring practice opens in less than two months, the search to replace several key performers on the offensive side of the ball will begin.

Running Back

For the better part of the last three years, Andre Ellington took ownership of Clemson's starting running back spot. He finished his four-year career with 3,436 yards rushing and 33 touchdowns.

Spring Candidates
Roderick McDowell
D.J. Howard
Zac Brooks [pictured right]

McDowell spent his first three years at Clemson waiting for his turn behind C.J. Spiller, Jamie Harper and Ellington before breaking out as the top reserve in 2012. Last season, McDowell set career-highs in rushing attempts [83], yards [450] and touchdowns [five].

After totaling for 230 yards on 41 carries as a redshirt freshman in 2011, Howard had 35 carries for 138 yards and two scores in 2012.

Brooks, who avoided a redshirt last season, rushed 26 times for 119 yards. His best performance came against Duke when he had 62 yards on 12 carries.

Wide Receiver

DeAndre Hopkins finished his Clemson career as one of the most accomplished pass catchers in school history. He capped his three-year career with 82 receptions for 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Of the 52 passes Jaron Brown caught over the last two seasons, a number of them were in clutch, third-down situations. Spring Candidates
Martavis Bryant
Adam Humphries
Charone Peake
Germone Hopper

Bryant, who was listed as the backup behind Hopkins on the final depth chart of the season, caught 10 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns. He was suspended for the bowl game for violating team rules.

The No. 2 receiver behind Brown, Peake caught 25 passes for 172 yards and two scores.

Humphries and Hopper could contend for playing time at the positions vacated by Hopkins and Brown. Both are probably better fits at the position Sammy Watkins plays.


At this time last year, Brandon Ford who was the primary candidate to replace Mackey Award winner Dwayne Allen. Ford proved to be a worthy replacement, finishing third on the team with 40 catches for 480 yards and second with eight touchdowns.

Spring Candidates
Darrell Smith
Sam Cooper
Stanton Seckinger
Jay Jay McCullough [pictured right]
Jordan Leggett

In 126 snaps last season, Smith caught just one pass for 1-yard. He was used primarily as a blocker.

Behind Ford, Cooper was the team's most reliable pass catching 3-back. He finished the 2012 campaign with 10 catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns.

Like Ford, Seckinger was converted from wide receiver to tight end. He caught four passes for 35 yards and a score in his first season of action.

McCullough, who took a redshirt in his first season on campus, fits the 3-Back mold that Chad Morris has in mind.

Leggett, a three-star, was rated by as the No. 45 tight end in the class of 2013.


Now on to a career in the NFL, Dalton Freeman leaves behind the starting center job that he held since midway through his redshirt freshman year. In 49 career starts, Freeman logged over 3,300 snaps.

Spring Candidates
Ryan Norton
Jay Guillermo

Playing both guard and center in 2012, Norton logged 277 snaps in 12 games. He also recorded nine knockdown blocks.

Guillermo, a former Under Armour All-American, took a redshirt in 2012. Top Stories