When it comes to running the football, it goes without saying Clemson co-offensive coordinators Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott will have plenty of options entering the 2015 season. All of last year's key contributors return this year, including leading rusher Wayne Gallman.
For whatever reason, Gallman doesn't get the kind of pub he probably deserves. Perhaps it's because he could have been a linebacker at the collegiate level. Maybe it's because he wasn't the same type of recruit as recent Clemson greats like Andre Ellington or C.J. Spiller.
Regardless, the "Wayne train" gets the job done and is getting better in all aspects of the game.
He rushed for over 750 yards last year, including an eye-popping 191 yards and a touchdown in the 35-17 win over South Carolina. Deemed a "violent runner" by former Clemson offensive coordinator and now SMU head coach Chad Morris, Gallman initiates contact and is developing a better feel for the position with each and every carry.
"He'd be the guy going out there if we played today," Dabo Swinney said of Gallman at the conclusion of spring practice. "We have a lot of competition back there and we saw some excellent things from all of those guys this spring."
Gallman's physicality is something Clemson's offense has needed more of in recent years, and it's one of several reasons he's going to be difficult to unseat as the starting running back.
Still, there will be room for others to get carries as well.
Tyshon Dye, a former four-star standout from Elberton County (Ga.), could give Clemson a nice option as a short-yardage back this year. Now healthy after tearing his Achilles' in Feb. 2014, Dye is a natural runner who will build confidence as the season progresses.
C.J. Davidson was the the leading rusher in the Orange and White game, but he had several costly fumbles last season, including one that likely prevented Clemson from winning at Florida State. A former track standout, Davidson gives the Tigers a nice change of pace, but he will have to earn the trust of the staff on game day by not turning it over going forward.
Zac Brooks is healthy again after missing last season with a foot injury. Considered one of the top athletes in Arkansas coming out of high school, Brooks has great hands and could be an outstanding option on third down this fall.
Clemson also has redshirt freshman C.J. Fuller and sophomore Adam Choice as well. Choice emerged as the starter halfway through last season before tearing his ACL and Fuller showed surprising pop for his size during spring ball after sitting out last season.
See the dilemma?
That's six running backs all vying for carries this fall. While many of the backs possess different skills making each one attractive for playing time, it's not a stretch to think that all six of these players won't stick, either.
Fuller has always had the possibility of playing on defense - likely in the secondary and Brooks certainly could move into the slot as a wide receiver, even though Dabo Swinney said last fall that wouldn't be a consideration.
There's always the possibility of one of these running backs electing to transfer too - but it's too early to know if that's legitimately in the works.
"Everybody did some good things," Swinney said Saturday. "As I’ve said from day one, we have a good situation there and I’m confident in all those guys. They can all win for us.”
Gallman and Dye appear to be poised for significant playing time - possibly Davidson too. What happens after that is anyone's guess, but at least there are more proven commodities this year than last.
Clemson's RB Competition
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