Running back battles back to put himself in position to help in his final season
It seems like Adam Choice has been at Clemson for a very long time. The truth of the matter is he has.
Choice signed with Clemson in 2014 and was a part of a class the consisted of quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Artavis Scott. Running back Wayne Gallman was a redshirt freshman on the 2014 team. Wide receiver Mike Williams and tight end Jordan Leggett were both sophomores that season.
All five of those players are now entering their second year in the NFL, while Choice his finishing up his final year of eligibility at Clemson. Choice was redshirted in 2015, after tearing his ACL midway through his freshman season.
At the time of his injury, he had emerged as Clemson’s leading rusher and started the Boston College game before going down with his knee injury. Some wondered if Gallman would have ever got the chance to prove what he did had Choice not gone down with an injury.
It’s tough to say, but Choice has hung in there through it all and now enters his final year at Clemson with an opportunity to prove just how valuable he is to the Tigers’ running game.
“He has had a very good camp,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “He is just in a good place physically and mentally. He is playing fast. I think he knows this is his opportunity.”
With Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster—the Tigers’ first and second leading rushers in 2017—returning, it would have been easy for Choice to leave Clemson and try to transfer like former running back C.J. Fuller did. However, he didn’t. He came back for his final season and the coaching staff is appreciative.
“He is another one of those guys that I love because he could have left,” Swinney said. “But, he loves his experience. He loves his teammates and he knows you don’t have to be a starter to go to the NFL. It is about being a productive player.
“The NFL people know that some teams have multiple guys at a certain position. You can either play or you can’t. Our roster has proven that time and time again. Jaron Brown, Adam Humphries, Tyler Shatley and we can go on and on and on. Those are guys that were good players, but maybe did not get the sizzle of other guys, but have gone on to have really good careers (in the NFL).”
Choice came into camp at 225 pounds and he will be used a lot as the Tigers’ short yardage and goal line running back, as well as on second and third-and-long plays because of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Swinney has called him his most complete running back, given the fact he understands the offense and protections better than any other running back.
“The biggest things with him were the injuries. He kind of got behind a little bit,” Swinney said. “He is in a really good place. He has kind of differentiated himself and I am kind of excited about his opportunity this year.
“We are going to need him. We are going to need all of them backs.”