In-Depth Chart: RB

Entering the 2006 season the Clemson backfield is as talented as it's been since the early 1990's. Sophomore RB James Davis leads the charge, but a trio of talented backs will also challenge for playing time, including freshman sensation C.J. Spiller.

First Team: SO James Davis (5-11, 210)
Resume: Rushed for 879 yards (5.3/carry) and nine touchdowns as a freshman, despite missing most of three games with a broken wrist. Also named ACC Rookie of the Year. Enters the 2006 season as the clear starter, but will be challenged for playing time by at least two other backs, including Reggie Merriweather and freshman C.J. Spiller. Added 10 pounds of muscle during offseason workouts to become more durable while also maintaing speed.

Forecast: Assuming he stays healthy, Davis should rush for over 1,000 yards, picking up right where he left off as a true freshman.


James Davis


Second Team: RS Reggie Merriweather (5-8, 210)
Resume: Rushed for 715 yards (4.8/carry) on 149 carries last season. Also scored seven touchdowns. Added 670 yards on 139 carries and 11 touchdowns in 2004. Now a redshirt senior, Merriweather is one of the top blockers in the offensive backfield who will also be depended on for leadership.

Forecast: Should see a reduced role with the expected emergence of Spiller, but could still be an impact player that touches the ball 75-100 times. Always a team player, Merriweather's presence will continue to play a large role in the development of younger backs Davis and Spiller.


Reggie Merriweather


Third Team: RF Demerick Chancellor (6-1, 195)
Resume: Chancellor moved from defensive back to running back last fall and impressed the coaching staff on the scout team. Had an impressive spring, culminating with 12 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown in the Orange and White game.

Forecast: Chancellor has the toughness to play running back, but with Davis, Merriweather and eventually Spiller ahead of him on the depth chart, don't expect him to see a significant amount of playing time this year.


Demerick Chancellor


Newcomer to Watch: FR C.J. Spiller (5-11, 195)
Resume: One of the most explosive running backs to ever sign with Clemson, Spiller had 176 carries for 1,840 yards (10.45/carry) as a senior at Lake Butler High School. Also scored 30 rushing touchdowns and caught 15 passes for 249 yards. Is expected to see the field early in the season and will compete with starter James Davis for playing time throughout the year.

Forecast: Spiller should give the Tigers another explosive option at running back and will likely see more than 125 carries this season. He will is also the most dangerous threat catching the ball out of the backfield. Has already enrolled at Clemson and has looked impressive in offseason workouts.


C.J. Spiller


Bold Prediction: Running Backs: Davis rushes for over 1,000 yards and his back up, C.J. Spiller is still named ACC Rookie of the Year in the process. Chancellor is moved to wide receiver and Merriweather averages five to 10 carries a game yet still puts up decent numbers. Remember, the Tigers return all five starters on the offensive line, not to mention four top reserves in an offense built on establishing the run. This should be the most explosive backfield at Clemson since Terry Allen in the late 1980's and and Ronald Williams in the early 90's.

Quote to Note: "It doesn't matter if I touch the field or not. On or off the field, I can help James (Davis) and all of the other running backs if I see them doing something good in a game by keeping (their minds) in the game and keeping them going. If I have to be a coach on the sidelines, I'll do whatever my role is for the team. It's all up to the coaches. Whatever they decide, that's what's going to happen. I'm just coming in here and working hard and working my way into the system." -- Freshman RB C.J. Spiller on playing as a true freshman.

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