Power at the point of attack

CLEMSON – Running backs coach Andre Powell likened Chad Diehl to New York Giants fullback Madison Hedgecock earlier this spring.

It's a comparison that Diehl received as a generous to say the least.

"In coach Powell's eyes, he's one of the best, if not the best fullback in the NFL," he said. "I'm humble. I don't see it how he sees it."

Powell coached Hedgecock at North Carolina before the St. Louis Rams drafted him in the seventh round of the 2005 draft.

Hedgecock has 35 receptions for 225 yards and two touchdowns and rushed three times for two yards during his five-year NFL career.

But more importantly, five players have rushed for at least 1,000 yards with Hedgecock blocking out of the same backfield.

He's also never missed a game.

"I've watched him and watched film when I first got here of him at North Carolina. He's a great player," Diehl said.

Last season, Diehl rushed three times for three yards and caught two passes for 20 yards. But he also had a 1,000 yard rusher in the backfield behind him.

With two more years of eligibility, he's got a while to keep dreaming about life in the league. Diehl's confident he could be there one day.

"Not because I'm athletic or because I ran a 4.3 forty, I've got a work ethic and a dream. It's definitely realistic," he said.

Diehl's looking no further than this fall, though. He'll be blocking for the running back duo of Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper with Roderick McDowell likely to be the third back. Most of Saturday's short yardage work saw Diehl as the lead blocker, not making plays with the ball in his hands.

"I guess third and one, maybe in the flat routes, possibly a short yardage run. I feel pretty confident that I could get the hang of that," he said.

In a program that's always appreciated a quality ground game, his work doesn't go unnoticed. Diehl's revered for the bone jarring blocks on fall Saturdays. He hates the ones during preseason camp, though.

"I hate hitting my teammates, to be honest. I've got a lot of good relationships with them—best friends, friends. It's something I don't like doing," Diehl said.

But there's nothing more cut and dry than moving bodies out of the way. He's shown time and time again since arriving to Clemson that he's more than willing to do it.

"Everybody's packed in there. You run your track and hit whoever you've got," Diehl said. "It's kind of easy. I like it."

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