Travis Etienne is the clear starter at running back for Clemson football, but can Demarkcus Bowman challenge for the number two spot?
According to 247sports, Clemson football has never signed a consensus 5-star running back until the Tigers signed Demarkcus Bowman as part of their stellar 2020 signing class. Bowman was one of five 5-star recruits that the Tigers signed last year according to the 247sports composite rankings.
There are a lot of people that believe Bowman has the potential to be the best back in Tigers history but can he unseat junior running back Lyn-J Dixon on the depth chart to get the carries that Etienne will not?
Over his first two seasons with Clemson football, Dixon has averaged 83 carries a season and nearly 600 yards as the backup running back. Many thought with Travis Etienne coming back and the arrival of both Bowman as well as Kobe Pryor as part of the 2020 signing class, that Dixon would seek an opportunity elsewhere in order to get more carries.
No one would have faulted him for doing it either. Like every other Tiger coming in, Lyn-J has hopes of getting to the NFL and many young men believe the best way to get there is by showcasing what they can do on the field.
Lyn-J Dixon stayed committed to Clemson football when he could have left
We saw former Tiger player Tavien Feaster do that for his senior year and things went very wrong for the former Spartanburg high school star. While Feaster did finally sign an undrafted free agent deal with the Jaguars, he rotted away with the Gamecocks in 2019 and did not see any more action than he would have in Clemson.
What Dixon has going for him is his familiarity with the offense and the trust of the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott is notorious hard on his running backs before putting them in the game.
Not only do they need to understand the nuances of running the football but they also have to be able to understand blocking – an area that both Etienne and Dixon struggled with. If we are being honest, Dixon is still terrible in this aspect of his game.
If Demarkcus Bowman can report to camp in shape, knows the playbook, and can demonstrate the ability to pick up blitzes and block, he will have a legitimate chance to overtake Lyn-J Dixon for that right to backup Travis Etienne in 2020.
Of all the battles that will take place during Fall camp, the battle for the backup running back spot will be most entertaining and one of the most important to the Tigers’ success in 2020.