December 23, 2010

Is James Davis The Next Big Thing In The Redskins Backfield?

Special thanks to Murf, aka Homer McFanboy, for asking me to do this feature on Davis for Hail! Magazine. Murf and I are part of Skinscast this year and Murf is also the editor-in-chief of Hail!  Hail! is a new digital magazine dedicated solely to the Washington Redskins. Think Sports Illustrated, but online and about your favorite team. Subscribe and enjoy!

It's no secret-more than a few professional athletes crave the spotlight. Fortunately for the Washington Redskins though, head coach Mike Shanahan’s latest addition to his ever-rotating stable of running backs, James Davis, is not one of those guys. The 5-foot-11, 218-pound youngster out of Clemson has no problem sharing gridiron glory so long as it helps the Redskins win football games.

“I’m definitely team-oriented,” said Davis. “My thing is I just want to win and that’s the goal for this team. I’m gonna definitely try to be that spark to bring this team up.”

Since his sophomore year in school, Davis has been accustomed to splitting the workload. Along with 2010 first-round selection C.J. Spiller, Davis was part of an explosive running back tandem at Clemson, which terrorized the ACC from 2006-08. Spiller was known as “Lightning,” a speedy back who averaged 7.3 yards per carry his freshman year and also left‹ Clemson as the ACC‘s all-time, all-purpose yardage leader. Davis was known as “Thunder,” a powerful runner who rushed for over 3,500 yards and 47 touchdowns, falling just short of the school’s all-time rushing record

Both running backs possessed big-time abilities and either could have claimed a fulltime starting role on another squad, but the duo made the most of their situation and did what was best for their team. The dynamic pair led Clemson to a 24-15 record through three seasons, receiving numerous accolades and high dra‹ft expectations from NFL scouts. Along the way, they also learned the value of splitting carries even at the expense of their personal numbers.

“Me at Clemson, I was the power back,” said Davis. “I think I weighed around 215 lbs., so I got most of the plays that ran inside and C.J., he’s a fast guy. He was probably about 190 and he had the jets. So we both had a different style of running and it was hard to stop us.” Davis, being a year ahead, took Spiller under his wing, but it was eventually Spiller who made sure Davis remained grounded.

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