Not only will Clemson’s offense need to replace a record-breaking quarterback and two NFL wide receivers this season, including fourth overall draft choice Sammy Watkins, but it will need to find additional help in the running game. Zac Brooks, the Tigers’ top returning rusher, is expected to miss the entire 2014 season after suffering a severe foot injury.
The injury occured during Clemson’s practice on Monday. Brooks, who rushed for 246 yards and two touchdowns last season, plans to redshirt his junior season, according to Tigers coach Dabo Swinney.
In a press release, Swinney noted that Brooks was making strides in camp: "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."
Brooks, who at 6-foot-1 was recruited as highly touted wideout out of high school, also offered a receiving threat out of the backfield in offensive coordinator Chad Morris’ uptempo attack.
The Tigers do boast some talent at the position, although no clear-cut favorite to be the starter. Upperclassmen D.J. Howard and C.J. Davidson will likely see the field, while two redshirt freshmen, Wayne Gallman and Tyshon Dye (who has been set back by injuries), are the highest-touted running back recruits on the roster. True freshman Adam Choice, a three-star back out of Thomasville, Ga., is another name being mentioned.
Either way, if Clemson is going to once again stake its claim as one of the top offenses in the country, it needs to quickly find some answers before heading down to Athens for its season opener against the Georgia Bulldogs.