At this time a year ago, McDowell was pretty sure that he'd have to wait. Spiller's push for the Heisman Trophy was already underway. Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington had already laid the foundation of their role as Clemson's next dynamic duo.
It's less than a week before the open of fall camp 2010 and McDowell's ready to make his own way in the recent lineage of Clemson running backs.
"You being mentioned with all those boys' names and now you get to step into their footsteps, you just got to say wow. It's time for me to produce and go out there. Andre, Jamie Harper, C.J., Davis—their names speak for themselves," McDowell said. "Then you look at their names and see you're right behind them, it makes you want to work hard. The work ethic has to be up there where they're at."
In 2009, McDowell tipped the scales at a diminutive 165 pounds. Now, less than a week before the open of fall camp he's pushing 190.
To go along with a strong work ethic in the weight room, McDowell said he's transformed himself off the field.
"My eating habits have changed since I got here. I'm eating better. I'm eating more. I'm resting a lot and working hard in the weight room," he said.
McDowell will be competing for that third running back spot with freshmen Demont Buice and D.J. Howard when camp opens on Aug. 3.
No worries there. The more the merrier.
"I love competition. When you have a lot of people competing for a spot, you're going to see the best out there," McDowell said.
Just as long as he gets the ball in his hands, McDowell knows he can make things happen. He already proved that once in Death Valley.
In his final game for Sumter High School, McDowell rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown. That game, the 2008 4A state championship, was in Clemson.
"My mindset since I was in high school, if you put the ball in my hands, I'm going to make plays. I feel like I'm a playmaker," McDowell said.
Now it's time for him to prove it on the college level.
"Everybody has their own legacy. C.J. and JD came through, they laid their foundation. Now it's time for us to lay our own," he said. "When it comes to me putting my name out there, I'm just going to go out there and do what I can do and show everybody out there Roderick McDowell did his thing."
Hot Rod ready to hit the road
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