The eight summer enrollees in Clemson’s 2020 signing class were expected to report to campus this past weekend, following the 15 midyear enrollees who joined the team in January ahead of spring practice.
In our Fresh Look at Clemson’s Summer Enrollees series, The Clemson Insider gives an in-depth review of the newcomers, breaks down what each player does best, how they will fit in and more. In this article, we focus on Demarkcus Bowman:
Hometown (High School): Lakeland, Fla. (Lakeland)
Height, Weight: 5-10, 190
Prospect ratings/rankings: 5-star, No. 25 national, No. 2 RB, No. 5 state (247Sports); 5-star, No. 26 national, No. 2 RB, No. 3 state (Rivals); 4-star, No. 23 national, No. 4 running back, No. 3 state (ESPN)
High school stats/accolades: Rushed for 5,081 yards in three years, including an 11.4-yard per-carry average and 71 touchdowns during his career … posted 26 games with at least 100 yards in his career and averaged 145 yards rushing in his 35 career games … in 11 games in 2019, recorded 1,570 rushing yards on 142 carries, an 11.1-yard average, becoming a first-team postseason All-American by Sports Illustrated and USA Today … averaged 142.7 yards a game, including nine games of at least 100 yards, while scoring 24 touchdowns and helping his team to a 12-1 record … posted 2,422 rushing yards in 15 games and scored 36 touchdowns in 2018 as a junior, earning 7A Player of the Year and first-team all-state honors for Florida … was a first-team Max Preps Junior All-American, securing Polk County Player of the Year honors and being runner-up for 2018 Gatorade Mr. Football honor … averaged 11.8 yards per carry and averaged 161.5 yards per game that year and led team to state title with a 15-0 record … as a sophomore in 2017, finished with 1,096 yards on 113 carries, a 9.7-yard average and 10 touchdowns … selected to Under Armour All-America Game
Scouting report: Bowman’s elite speed, acceleration and explosiveness have earned him comparisons from Dabo Swinney to former Clemson great C.J. Spiller. Bowman, also a track and field athlete in high school, has legitimate sub-4.5 speed and recorded a 100-yard time of 10.82 at The Opening in Orlando prior to his senior year. He was extremely productive at state powerhouse Lakeland (Fla.) High School, rushing for more than 5,000 yards and scoring 71 touchdowns during his career there, including his junior season in 2018 during which he racked up 2,422 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns while helping Lakeland win its seventh state championship.
Bowman can run by defenders at any time and is a threat to find the end zone whenever he has the ball in his hands. But while speed is his calling card, Bowman is not afraid to run inside and has the power to bully through defenders between the tackles with the help of his strong and compact frame. He also has the ability to be a capable pass protector and can make plays out of the backfield as a receiver in the passing game as well.
How he fits in: Bowman joins a running back room at Clemson that is chock full of talent. The Tigers have a handful of viable scholarship backs, including Bowman, fellow freshman summer enrollee Kobe Pace, senior Travis Etienne, junior Lyn-J Dixon, sophomore Chez Mellusi and sophomore Michel Dukes.
Etienne will once again serve as the Tigers’ bell cow after forgoing the 2020 NFL Draft in favor of one final college season, but Bowman should compete for snaps behind Etienne next season. The five-star has all of the tools to make an immediate contribution with the carries he gets in 2020 before presumably stepping into a larger role in 2021 after Etienne moves on.
Coach speak: Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney on Bowman –
“He’s special. He’s another version of Spiller. 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.
“He is blazing fast, tough as they come, great ball skills and just a playmaker. Going to be a special, special player here, and cannot wait for him to get here and start toting the mail for the Tigers.”
Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott on Bowman –
“Very special. 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 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.”
—Clemson Athletic Communications contributed to this story
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