Help Wanted: Running Back

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson head basketball coach Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
Head Coach
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listed his vacant assistant coach’s position on the Clemson employment website last week.

The football coaches – a la Danny Ford when he was looking for a punter in the mid-80’s – might have to do the same thing at running back.

I say that tongue-in-cheek of course, but the Clemson Tigers are all of a sudden very thin at a very crucial position with the announcement that running back Mike BellamyMike Bellamy
Fr. Running Back
#5 5-10, 175
Nocatee, FL

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won't be with the team next season.

This season, Bellamy’s loss might not mean so much. The Tigers still have an all-conference player in senior Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Jr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 190
Moncks Corner, SC

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, D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS Fr. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
Lincoln, AL

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gained valuable experience last year and Roderick McDowellRoderick McDowell
RS So. Running Back
#25 5-9, 190
Sumter, SC

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has experience he brings to the three-deep. It also means that freshman running back Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Fr. Athlete
# 6-2, 180
Jonesboro, AR

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, who might have been facing a redshirt for the 2012 season, now will almost certainly see some snaps.

However, Ellington has faced injury problems in the past, and it isn’t out of the realm of possibility he could miss time again this season, leaving only Howard and McDowell on the depth chart if Brooks was to redshirt. Playing Brooks would enable him to gain valuable experience, because next season, it’s just those three and whatever freshmen can prove they can come in and play.

Bellamy was actually the team’s second-leading rusher a year ago, with 343 yards, while receiver Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Fr. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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was third with 231 yards, one yard more than Howard.

A year ago at this time, the Tigers had an embarrassment of riches at the position – Ellington, Bellamy, Demont BuiceDemont Buice
Running Back
#24 6-1, 225
Gadsden, AL

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, Howard and McDowell. Buice left early last season – because of the logjam in the backfield – so he could seek playing time somewhere else.

Next year, unless one of the 2013 signees comes in early – the Tigers will have just three scholarship running backs for spring practice.

The good news is that the Tigers are after some pretty good running backs in the 2013 recruiting cycle – Wayne Gallman has already committed, and they are in the running for Derrick Green and Tyshon Dye. If playing time is what these kids are looking for, they might have just found it in Clemson.

Clemson Football Running Back Depth Chart
 	23 	Andre Ellington 	5-10	190	*Sr. 
	22 	D.J. Howard 		5-11 	195 	*So. 
	25	Roderick McDowell	5-9	190	*Jr.
	24	Zac Brooks		6-2	180	Fr.

2011 Rushing Stats
 # RUSHING 			G-S   Car Gain Loss Net Y/C C/G   Y/G TD 10+ 20+ LG
23 Andre Ellington, RB 		13-13 223 1218 40  1178 5.3 17.2 90.6 11 29  11  74
 5 Mike Bellamy, RB 		12-0  57  360  17  343  6.0 4.8  28.6 3  11  2   75
 2 Sammy Watkins, WR 		13-10 32  243  12  231  7.2 2.5  17.8 0  7   4   33
22 D.J. Howard, RB 		12-2  41  235  5   230  5.6 3.4  19.2 1  5   2   37
10 Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS So. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA
View Full Profile, QB 		14-14 142 462  244 218  1.5 10.1 15.6 5  10  1   24
25 Roderick McDowell, RB 	13-0  14  66   3   63   4.5 1.1  4.8  1  3   0   14

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