Summer breakdown: Gallman will be difficult to replace


by - Correspondent -
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Feaster will be counted on in 2017

Wayne Gallman didn't show a lot of flash, but he was tough between the tackles and got the yards he needed to by lowering his shoulder and bulldozing forward. Replacing Gallman will be a tough task. Who will fill Gallman's shoes?

Starter on summer depth chart: C.J. Fuller (Jr.).

Other key returners: Adam Choice (Jr.); Tavien Feaster (Soph).

New faces: Darien Rencher (R-Fr.); Travis Etienne (Fr.)

The breakdown: Wayne Gallman had one of the best running back careers in Clemson history, so the production, leadership and work ethic he showed are certainly going to be difficult to replace.

Gallman rushed for 34 touchdowns and nearly 3,500 yards during his three-season career, and he also caught 66 passes for 486 yards and two more touchdowns. But the numbers don’t really tell the entire story. Gallman worked hard, played hard, ran hard and blocked hard for the Tigers, and that kind of work ethic helped him become a dynamic and dangerous runner. It also helped him grow into a leader for the team, albeit a quiet one.

He’s certainly going to be missed.

It’s a good thing the Tigers have a talented group of running backs to try to fill those holes.

Fuller really stepped up his game last season, rushing for 211 yards on 41 carries, and became an all-around threat, including highlight touchdown catches against South Carolina and Ohio State.

But is he an every-down back? Well, that’s not necessarily something Clemson needs with the other talent in this group. Fuller can just be a piece of the puzzle that replaces Gallman.

Feaster is the player everyone will expect to take over the majority of the carries, and he had a solid freshman season, rushing for 222 yards on 37 carries. Feaster is a speedster, and he’s really talented, but he’s still learning and growing, so we’ll have to see if he can take the next step of his career. If he can this season, that would be huge for the offense.

Choice likely was going to be the starter a couple of years ago but has been banged up throughout his time with the program, rushing for almost 400 yards during his career. If he can stay healthy, he’s certainly another weapon and can be a valuable piece.

Then there are the new faces in Etienne and Rencher. Just a true freshman, Etienne will be counted on this season because of his combination of power and speed, but will he be ready? Rencher is a former walk-on, but the T.L. Hanna product has impressed coaches and will provide needed depth and can help on special teams.

These players make for an interesting group, and they are going to have their work cut out for them to replace Gallman.

Daniel Shirley is the sports editor of The Telegraph in Macon, Ga., and co-host of The Midday Sports Zone on Middle Georgia’s ESPN, 93.1 FM and 99.5 FM. Follow him on Twitter at @DM_Shirley and read his blog at macon.com/peachsports.

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