Ranking Clemson's RBs

From No. 1 to four, CUTigers.com ranks Clemson's returning running backs in 2008. And yes you diehard Paul Macko fans, we've got him on our list.

RANKING CLEMSON'S RUNNING BACKS
#1. James Davis (5-11, 210) - SENIOR

STRENGTHS - Vision. Power. Toughness. Leadership. Experience. Handles pressure well. Hits the hole with authority.

WEAKNESSES - Pure speed. Can he stay healthy for 12 games?

NOTES - With a strong senior season and a good showing at the NFL Combine next February, Davis could become a lock to be selected in the first two rounds of the 2009 NFL Draft. Needs just 837 yards on the ground to become Clemson's all-time leading rusher, passing Raymond Priester. Davis has been named first-team All-ACC each of the last two years and has led Clemson in rushing each of the last three. One of the clear leaders of the team and a work-horse who can always be depended on with the game on the line. What else can you say? He's one of the greatest players to ever put on a Clemson uniform?

HIGHLIGHT - (70-yard Touchdown run versus Duke)

BEST CASE 2008 STATS - 245 carries, 1,300 yards, 14 touchdowns.

#2. C.J. Spiller (5-11, 190) - JUNIOR

STRENGTHS - Breakaway, elite-level speed. Ellusivness. Hands. Versatility.

WEAKNESSES - Doesn't consistently hit the hole. Tries to do too much instead of taking what the defense gives him.

NOTES - A weapon anytime he touches the ball, Spiller remains one of the most electric players in all of college football. A triple threat- he can beat you on the ground, through the air, or on special teams as a returner. Needs a strong showing this season to solidify draft status, but could go as high as the first round in next year's draft with a good season. Needs to do more north-south running instead of always trying to create the big play but still is one of the most talented athletes to ever play for the Tigers.

HIGHLIGHT - (90-yard Kickoff Return versus Wake Forest)

BEST CASE 2008 STATS - 175 carries, 1,100 yards, 7 TDs on the ground, 45 receptions, 500 yards, 5 TDs through the air, 600 kick return yards, 300 punt return yards.

#3. Rendrick Taylor (6-2, 240) - SENIOR

STRENGTHS - Size. Power. Hands.

WEAKNESSES - Experience at the running back position. Staying healthy.

NOTES - While technically a running back entering preseason camp, Taylor could very well be moved back to wide receiver before the season opener against Alabama. A bruising, punishing runner, Taylor has demonstrated he can be a versatile weapon in the receiving game or a devastating downfield blocker. A bit unlucky during his first three years with various injuries and with just one year of eligibility left in his college career, it's now or never for the former Marlboro County standout.

HIGHLIGHT - (35-Yard Completion versus N.C. State)

BEST CASE 2008 STATS - 50 carries, 225 yards, 5 TDs on the ground, 35 catches, 500 yards, 5 TDs through the air.

#4. Paul Macko (5-10, 195) - REDSHIRT SENIOR

STRENGTHS - Work ethic. Desire.

WEAKNESSES - Speed. Game day experience.

NOTES - Macko is the spring-game legend who's always there to provide backup support at the running back position. While not blessed with the same talent as a James Davis or C.J. Spiller, he makes the most of his opportunities when he has them, attacking the line of scrimmage with wreckless abandonment. Did you know- pound-for-pound Macko is the strongest player on the team with a 7.42 power index? Also a solid special teams performer.

BEST CASE 2008 STATS - 10 carries, 50 Yards, one TD on the ground, one punt block on special teams.



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