The ripple effects from Zac Brooks‘ injury has commenced in earnest.
Wednesday, Clemson announced that Brooks would miss the entire 2014 season due to a foot injury. That left the Tigers with just three healthy running backs… and Dabo Swinney with no other choice.
In a move not entirely unexpected, the head coach confirmed Thursday night that true freshman Adam Choice will not redshirt as had previously been planned.
“With Zac’s injury we have just three healthy running backs to open the season,” Swinney said in quotes distributed by the team. “You can’t go through a season with just three backs, so Adam Choice is going to play this year. Adam has had a great camp. He has a lot of natural ability and we have been very impressed with his ability to pick up the offense. We will get him ready and he will have an impact at some point this year.”
Choice was a four-star member of the Tigers’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 10 running back in the country by Rivals.com. How choice will fit in with the current rotation of junior C.J. Davidson, redshirt freshman Wayne Gallman and senior D.J. Howard, the presumptive replacement for Brooks as top back, remains to be seen.
As for the specifics of Brooks’ injury, Swinney said it’s a ligament issue in his foot, similar to the one suffered by former Clemson great Andre Ellington. Swinney sounded optimistic Brooks, the Tigers’ leading returning rusher, will be available for the start of spring practice next year.
“The positive is that Zac will still have two years to play. He has not redshirted. Andre has come back from it just fine. He had a 1,000-yard rushing season for us an is now the top back in Arizona (Cardinals).”
(Photo credit: Clemson athletics)