Zac Brooks, Clemson’s leading returning rusher, is out for the season with an undisclosed foot injury, the school announced today.
Rumors swirled Tuesday night, after Dabo Swinney mentioned the injury after practice but said that he wouldn’t say who was hurt until they received the results of an MRI and notified the parents. Brandon Rink at Orange and White confirmed that Brooks was the injured player Swinney alluded to.
“Zac was having an outstanding camp and was ready for a terrific year,” said Swinney in a Clemson release. “The plan is for Zac to sit out this year due to the injury and come back next year as a red-shirt junior. This is a big loss because he is such a reliable player in all phases of the game. He knows the offense inside and out.”
Obviously this hurts. But the good news is that the Tigers have a deep group of running backs, and the battle for the starting job was ongoing. The competition is now between D.J. Howard, C.J. Davidson, Wayne Gallman and Adam Choice. Ultimately, we probably won’t know who will end up getting the bulk of the carries until the season starts and someone shows that they can excel against defenses not wearing Clemson orange.
“That’s one of those things that’s going to play itself out,” said Swinney. “We’re going to need all those guys. We’ll continue to evaluate. They’re really just kinda all there together. Although some do things better than others, we’ll manage that. Somebody will get hot. Right now, we’ve evaluated as far as we can go in practice and I feel good about the guys we have.
“We just got to get them to the game. We just got to get them to the big lights.”
In any case, the opener against Georgia is 10 days away. Hopefully the Tigers will make it to kickoff without any more injury news. Good luck to Zac Brooks on making a full recovery and getting back on the field next season.