Davis Looks at Big Picture

CLEMSON - While nearly all followers of Clemson athletics view this week's contest against Boston College as a shot to play for the ACC title, James Davis has a completely different perspective on what this game means to the program.

Davis doesn't have blinders on, he sees the big picture. Never mind a trip to Jacksonville to play for the ACC Championship. That's small potatoes. He's already looking ahead to what a victory would do for the Clemson football team for next season.

"I think this game right here this week is going to change the program," Davis said. "If we can win this game, it's definitely going to change the program nationally. … We really want to finish the job (this year). We can fight this year out and then next year and then comeback and try to win a national championship."

A national championship? We're talking about a team program that hasn't sniffed a division or conference title in well over a decade and Davis is talking about competing for a national championship.

Maybe it's not so far fetched, after all.

"I don't think we can go to the national championship this year, but next year if we can get all those guys to come back and play strong, we've got a lot of guys that can help this team out and win a national championship," he said.

Davis is 100 percent right about one thing, all the juniors, particularly safety Michael Hamlin and defensive end Phillip Merling, would need to come back for their senior years.

"I haven't started talking to any of those guys (about coming back)," Davis said. "Probably at the end of the year when it's time to make a decision, I'll probably step in and talk to them and just tell them to think about what will probably happen if they wait another year. We could have a lot of first rounders if those guys comeback next year."

But, most importantly, for the Tigers to have a real shot at a title run, Davis would has to return, too. So, does that mean the junior is set to return for his senior season?

"I was talking to (junior quarterback) Cullen Harper about it," Davis said. "I've been thinking about it. I was talking to him in the meeting room on Friday that if all the guys were to come back we'd have a real good shot at winning the national championship.

"Something like 18 starters come back. That's a lot. I think this team would have a lot of depth and everything. … I want any kind of championship, so a national championship would really be big. I think we'll get a much better ranking coming into next season, too. …

"I'm leaning real strong (to coming back). Like I said, I've talked to Cullen Harper. If I think about it, I've got everything I want for me to come back. I'm going to have a good offensive line and everything is set on the table."

If that weren't enough, having a chance on Saturday to speak to former teammate Gaines Adams, who was drafted in the first round in April, really made an impression on Davis.

Adams turned down second or third round money and came back for his senior season and parlayed that into millions.

"If I have a good season that will automatically move my stock up," Davis said. "But just coming back, I think it will boost it up even more. There's a lot of stuff on the table. Even with Gaines Adams' situation, I kind of look at that right there and it gives me a lot of confidence as far as coming back.

"I seen Gaines this weekend and he just looks like he has a lot of money just by looking at the guy. I think about that, like if I just stay for my senior year, it might happen to me."

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