The first time he saw five-star running back Demarkcus Bowman on film, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney turned to offensive coordinator/running backs coach Tony Elliott and said, “That’s Spiller.”
Swinney did not think he would ever see a player like C.J. Spiller in high school again. But after watching Bowman, Swinney believes the Tigers are getting a running back that is very comparable to the former Clemson great.
Bowman (5-10, 190) is expected to enroll at Clemson this summer after signing with the school in December.
“He’s special. He’s another version of Spiller,” Swinney said this week. “That’s pretty high praise. He’s a long way from that, but as far as just high school tape and explosiveness and track speed – legit track speed – the ability to catch the football… Every time he touches it, he literally can go the distance. Can return (on special teams) and those types of things. I think there’s a lot of similarities between the two coming out of high school. He’s a little thicker probably than C.J. was, but he’s got that type of explosiveness, and it’s easy to see coming out of the system that he’s been playing in.”
A unanimous top-26 national prospect according to the major recruiting services, Bowman amassed 5,081 yards rushing in three years at Lakeland (Fla.) High School, averaging an incredible 11.4 yards per rush and scoring 71 career touchdowns. He logged 26 games with at least 100 yards in his career and averaged 145 yards rushing in his 35 career contests.
Bowman earned first-team postseason All-American honors by Sports Illustrated and USA TODAY following his senior season in 2019 when he ran for 1,570 yards and 24 touchdowns on 142 carries, an 11.1-yard average.
Prior to his senior year, Bowman competed at The Opening regional combine in Orlando and ran a blazing 100-yard time of 10.82.
Elliott and former Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott teamed up to help the Tigers pull Bowman out of Lakeland, which traditionally has been Florida Gators recruiting territory.
“Very special,” Elliott said of Bowman. “Is probably going to draw a lot of comparisons to another great out of the state of Florida in C.J. Spiller. Has that dynamic speed, the ability to change the game at any moment. He’s a lot like Travis (Etienne) in that any time he touches the ball, he can go the distance.
“But what I really like about Demarkcus is he loves to run between the tackles, too. He’s a complete running back, can catch the ball out of the backfield. He loves the game of football. He’s already texting me, ‘What can I learn? I’m ready to get there, I want to make an immediate impact.’ So, really, really excited about him.”
Swinney can’t wait for Bowman to officially join Clemson’s running back corps when he arrives on campus in June.
“He is blazing fast, tough as they come, great ball skills and just a playmaker,” Swinney said. “Going to be a special, special player here, and cannot wait for him to get here and start toting the mail for the Tigers.”
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