Mission Accomplished

CLEMSON – The last place Clemson freshman running back James Davis wanted to play in a bowl game was Orlando. Atlanta was fine, Charlotte too, anywhere but Orlando.

"When I saw Florida State win, I was like, man," he said. "I knew that we were probably going to Orlando."

Davis is looking forward to going to the theme parks and being in the warm weather, but what bothered him was the fact that he had to tell his mom that he wasn't going to be home for Christmas.

"That was the first thing that came to my mind," Davis said. "I was going to have to tell my mother I wasn't going to be home for Christmas.

"When I told her, she was like, ‘What!?' " Davis said. "She was kind of upset."

She ultimately calmed down and realized Davis is going to be home for his birthday on New Year's Day and that he is also going to be able to come home for a few days prior to the team leaving for Orlando.

Besides, now she gets to spend Christmas in warm Orlando.

People tend to forget, but this is a whole new experience for Davis.

A year ago, he's in high school and not practicing football. The only major issue on his mind was trying to figure out what presents he was going to get for Christmas and his birthday.

"It's really been kind of tough," Davis said. "The weather's changed and I'm at the end where I'm just ready to be done with classes and all that."

It's easy to see how the youngster could be worn out. It truly has been an up-and-down season for Davis.

It started in August when we he left the team for three days because of his feeling that he wasn't going to get many carries this season. He then burst onto the scene with a stellar performance against Texas A&M in the season opener.

By week two, he had become the starter over incumbent Reggie Merriweather and all was going well, that is until the Thursday night game at N.C. State.

In the first two quarters that night, Davis was nothing short of spectacular. On 11 carries, Davis exploded for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Then on the first play in the second half, Davis had a four-yard run, but also broke his left wrist on the play.

After sitting for the next two games, Davis returned and had a solid game against Florida State and scored the game-winning touchdown a week later against South Carolina.

In all, he finished the season with 137 carries for 729 yards, which breaks down to 5.3 yards per rushing attempt. He also had eight touchdowns.

As a result of his performance in eight and a half games, Davis was named the ACC Rookie of the Year.

"I think I did fairly well," Davis said. "My goal was to rush for a 1,000 yards, but also one of my goals was to get ACC Rookie of the Year and I accomplished that goal."

All seemed like it was going for the most part the way he had hoped, that is until he had to tell his mom that he was going to Orlando.

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