Davis Looking for Repeat Performance

CLEMSON – As Clemson prepares to play a struggling N.C. State team, thoughts immediately turn to last year's contest when those throughout the ACC, across the nation and locally got their first real glimpse of what a truly special running back Clemson's James Davis is.

Davis burst onto the national scene last year when he ripped through that vaunted Wolfpack defense to the tune of 12 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

But what made that performance even more spectacular is that fact that all but one rush and four yards took place in the first half. Moreover, it all happened on ESPN on a Thursday night, meaning it was the only game on television.

A star had been born.

"That game, right there, changed my life a lot because it got everybody looking at me," Davis said. "Everybody saw that game. A lot more people saw that game than what I thought. I went home and everybody had seen the game.

"When I came to Clemson, a lot of people were saying, ‘Where's James at? I haven't heard about him in a while.' Then they all saw me have a big game like that."

The outing surprised Davis somewhat, but that's probably nothing to the level of shock probably exhibited by those wearing the red and white uniforms.

"In that game, I think I was the third running back to come in and they really didn't know who I was," Davis said. "They hadn't really seen me much on film so they didn't think much of me. So when I broke it out like that, they were probably surprised by it."

However, there was a significant negative that came with the game that probably altered the outcome of at least one future game.

On the very first play of the second half against the Wolfpack, Davis took the handoff and ran to his right, where he was eventually tackled after a four-yard gain.

But when he landed on the ground, his wrist was in an awkward position and he wound up breaking it as a result.

"I mostly remember that when I broke my wrist that it was still exciting because we won the game and still had 143 yards," Davis said. "I really don't remember much about the first half. I just mostly remember I broke my wrist that game."

In the immediate days and weeks following the game, and even to this day, many wondered just how many yards Davis would have finished with had he not gotten hurt.

Ever since those first two quarters against N.C. State, Davis has been in the national spotlight, which is something he likes. But then again, what sophomore wouldn't.

"That game changed my life a lot," Davis said. "I got a lot more publicity. Everybody started talking to me and a lot of guys (from other teams) were calling me up and wanting to workout with me and do the things that I do just to get like me. It changed a lot.

"It also made me have to work on a lot of stuff during the offseason because I knew a lot of people were going to be coming back to get me, so I did all the mental and physical things I had to. "Even though I broke my wrist, that game made me a better player."

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