Breaking down the running backs

With the start of preseason camp just around the corner, we take a look at each position and how things could pan out this fall.

Rod McDowell

How can you not pull for this guy?

After four years of patiently waiting his turn, McDowell can finally call himself a starter.

McDowell came to Clemson with a full depth chart ahead of him -- C.J. Spiller, Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington. Now that all three are on to the NFL, it's finally his turn to take over No. 1 spot.

But it took somewhat of an audition in 2012 for McDowell to prove that he could be counted on in 2013. As a redshirt junior last season, he rushed 83 times for 450 yards and five touchdowns. All set single-season career-bests.

In fact, over his first two seasons, McDowell rushed 46 times for 224 yards and two scores. He logged just 103 snaps in his first two seasons before playing 244 in 2012.


Rod McDowell has come a long way since his freshman year.
McDowell will have a host of underclassmen to fend off, including a pair of four-star freshmen.

Also in the mix

The freshmen duo of Wayne Gallman and Tyshon Dye joined McDowell, Zac Brooks and D.J. Howard earlier this summer.

Brooks, a sophomore, rushed for 119 yards on 26 carries last season. Howard, a redshirt junior, had 35 carries for 138 yards and two scores a season ago.

The post-spring depth chart listed Howard on the second-team and Brooks on the third-team.

How it might play out

At least for now, it's likely that McDowell will lead all Clemson ball carriers in rushing attempts, but it could be a safe bet that the difference between his workload and the No. 2 back won't be as great as it has been the last two seasons.

Ellington rushed 212 times in 2012. McDowell was second among running backs with 83 carries.

In 2011, Ellington had 223 carries. Mike Bellamy was second with 57.

We could be looking at a season that sees at least two running backs with 100 or more carries.

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