ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 29: Mike Bellamy #5 of the Clemson Tigers fails to pull in this reception against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
With the academic ineligibility of Mike Bellamy we get a chance to talk RB recruiting. We now have an additional scholarship with this class and will take two RB's with the possibility for a third RB or hybrid player (although the staff generally wants five RB's on scholarship). Our current stable of RB's includes:
Andre Ellington Redshirt SR
D.J Howard Redshirt SO
Zac Brooks FR
Rod McDowell Redshirt JR
Before the untimely exit of Bellamy, Morris was looking for a bigger back that fits the mold for his style of running game. He wants a guy who can move the chains and help mask some of the deficiencies in our offensive line. We now have room for a speed guy as well, but for this year look for 'The Chad' to be his inventive self and get production from WR's like Sammy and perhaps incoming freshman Germone Hopper (depending on how fast he can pick up the offense) will now avoid a redshirt for sure. Sammy was third on the team with 231 yards rushing before his shoulder injury (we will see if the coaching staff elects to reduce his role here to preserve his health). Hopper is an accomplished all-purpose player with over 4,000 yards and 50 TD's in his high school career, so he could take over that orbit role in the future. A renewed commitment to the running QB might also lead to a Chad Kelly running package and avoidance of a redshirt as well with Bellamy gone. Zac Books, obviously, becomes more important especially in Dwayne Allen's role in formations. Pay attention to who is excelling in pass catching in the fall, something Morris wants improvement on from last season. But enough speculation--I'm here for recruiting. Lets evaluate Clemson's top RB's on the board.Committed: Wayne Gallman from Grayson GA is committed to the Tigers. He is 6'1" and about 195 pounds. He is an excellent athlete who could also play LB potentially at the D-1 level. He is in the big back mold and will look to add about 20 pounds to his current frame. He has a surprising burst and claims to bench 295 and squat 485 (he also said he was timed at the school with a 4.38 40). Overall he is ranked as a low 4*/high 3* recruit and could be a solid contributor after a RS season.
1. Derrick Green (6'0", 215 lbs) is a Top 100, Top 10 RB from Hermitage VA with 32 offers and he is a recruit to get excited about. He performed very well at the Nike Baltimore camp, earning an invite to the Opening and is an Army All-American. He is consistently described as a focused, hard-working young man who will be a workhorse with the total package to carry the ball 25-30 times a game. Clemson was once his declared leader but he also said Ohio State was his leader not too long ago. This is an intelligent young man who now answers every reporter that everyone is equal and he has no favorites and no leaders. He will cut his list at the end of summer and may wait until signing day to announce--tough to tell at this point. He wants to visit Alabama, Southern Cal, and recently enjoyed his visit to Michigan. We are competing with all the big boys here. He does seem like he wants to go out of state and Clemson is firmly positioned with Green but he is going to take his time and take all of his visits. This can't have the coaching staff feeling too comfortable but they can't pressure him into an early commitment--he has no timetable for a decision.
2. Tyshon Dye (6'0"-1" 205 lbs) is a 4* recruit known for his tough running and breakaway speed, running a 4.46 40. Tyshon's top five in no particular order are Tennessee, Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina, and Auburn (with Florida State hanging around as a consideration as well). Lots of teams are trying to sell these bigger power backs on I-formation offensive schemes. That is the strategy from Auburn for Dye, for example. Clemson has been after Dye the longest but probably have Green a bit higher on the board. Auburn and a few other schools have said they will go the distance to national signing day with him so Clemson is playing a dangerous balancing game. They don't want to miss out on both Dye and Green just because they only want to take two RB's this cycle. This again the delicate numbers management that Scott and Dabo must negotiate. It didn't work in our favor last year with Marshall, Gurley and even Davis.
3.(5'11, 190 lbs) is a bit higher 4* recruit with elite top end speed and acceleration. He was the RB MVP at the Orlando Opening camp. Clemson is in the mix here but FSU, Notre Dame and Florida are the top three. We are probably in the top 5 or six with Tennessee and Oregon. Green also doesn't have a timeline for a commit so Clemson could still be a major player by getting him on campus. Elliott is recruiting him and they have a good relationship.
4. T.J. Logan is a much smaller back at 5'9-10" and 175-180 lbs. He has put up big numbers in NC despite his smaller frame, running for 2,500 yards and 38 TD's including a five touchdown performance against Crest with their stellar D-Line last year. He is a prospect to watch. His co-leaders are South Carolina and North Carolina but there is some question as to whether or not they will take his commitment at this point. I think he is an undervalued prospect and Clemson wants to work him out in the slot and as an all-purpose, kick returning back. In fact, Ohio State has even begun to show interest so this may be a future Meyer-Dabo battle. Everett Withers is certainly making Ohio State's presence felt in NC. Logan is all the more valuable and probable as a take with the departure of Bellamy.
Others to Watch: Alvin Kamara, Marquez Grayson, Peyton Barber, and Khris Francis (UNC commit).