One-on-One with J.D.

CLEMSON - After all the media spoke with James Davis Tuesday evening before the basketball game, CUTigers.com sat down with James Davis to talk more about his decision to return to school in a one-on-one conversation Tuesday evening.

James talk first about the last week or so and the range of emotions you've gone through in deciding to go the draft and then changing your mind and deciding to come back to school.
Davis: It was stressful at the beginning but now it's a big sense of relief. I know I'm going to better myself in the future because I'm going to get my degree and also I know I can help better myself for the draft next year so it definitely works out on both ends for me.

What was the most important factor in deciding to come back for your senior season?
Davis: Well I wanted to know first off if I was coming back if guys wanted me back. Guys like C.J. Spiller were really expecting to start. When I left I know he was thinking about the fact that this was kind of like his team and he was asking himself, 'can I put this team on my shoulders?' But he welcomed me back. It was guys like him just encouraging me to come back. Cullen Harper, Aaron Kelly, all those guys called me and that was big. If I have teammates like that calling me wanting me to come back, telling me how we are going to win a championship next year that's a big deal.

What did C.J. tell you in particular because we were all assuming last week that it was looking like his team next year?
Davis: He just told me, you need to come back so we can do this thunder and lightning one more time. He was saying you got another year so you might as well come back. Stuff like that, you respect that. Coach Spence kept calling me too. I realized that I had a lot of people on my side and realized the support I had. It was obvious I had a lot of support from everybody, including the fans after I had made my decision. Everybody was happy when I came back and that's the kind of support you like to see and the kind of support you have at Clemson.

I believe nine junior running backs declared for the draft around the same time as you did. How big of a factor was that in your decision?
Davis: I looked at it. A lot of people were looking at it, more than I was to be honest. I was basing my decision on my talent and my skills. It was a factor because I know I can be one of the top guys next year and help this team out.

We've heard a million times how you woke up at 3 o'clock in the morning and called your mom to talk about the possibility of changing your mind. I can imagine you waking up in a cold sweat wondering about everything you had seemingly already figured out. Is that how it went?
Davis: It started the night before. I had to talked to mom for a long time. She wanted me to come back all along. I told her I was going to think about it. Then I'm waking up at 3:05 and I was sweating. I went and washed my face. I was like, 'man, do I really want to do this?' I told my mom, I'm thinking about coming back and I called her right then. She was kind of sleeping then she started screaming, 'yeah he's coming back.' The funny thing is I really didn't have pressure on me as far as leaving early. I did that on my own. That was big in me coming back because I didn't really feel the pressure. So I started calling up my friends at three in the morning and started telling everybody. Then it was funny ... because everybody started telling me then that I made the right decision. I had a couple of friends say, 'hey I didn't want to tell you but you shouldn't have left.' (laughing) So I'm glad about that.

When you changed your mind last Friday, did you know for sure that you still had the option to return to Clemson?
Davis: Oh yeah. I knew because Coach Spence called me and kept saying, 'James you need to think about this really hard. I talked to him for about an hour on that Friday. He was calling me every single day after I made the announcement. Then I texted Coach Powell at 3 in the morning when I figured I was coming back. Then we got all the paperwork taken care of the next morning and I talked with Coach Bowden. So then all I had to do was fax in some stuff to the NFL. So I got that all squared away. Everybody was real supportive ... especially the coaches. I was clean throughout the process (not taking money from agents) because it was always in the back of my mind. I always had it in my mind about coming back to Clemson. But I didn't want tell anybody.

Last question, you look at the fact you are about 850 yards away from breaking the all-time rushing record at Clemson, how important was that in your decision and talk about what that would mean to you.
Davis: That's what my friends were telling me that they were really glad I came back because I could break that record. I've surpassed 850 in each of my three years. If I could do it next year it would mean a lot. It would mean that I came back for my senior year and I made a name for myself at Clemson. It would be something that people would never forget. That's definitely big for me. I'm really happy I'm going to get that chance. It means a lot.

* You can hear this seven minute interview played Wednesday morning on RUSH HOUR on 104.9 FM The Drive, the flagship station for Clemson sports around 6:45 and 8:45 AM.

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