James Davis has started at Clemson University since his freshman year back in 2005. In his freshman year he turned in a 165carries 879yards and 9 touchdown season; earning him ACC Freshman of the Year honor, first in Tigers history since Anthony Simmons in 95’. Davis’s 9 rushing touchdowns set a freshman record to go along with 4 100-yard games.
Davis had his best season in his sophomore year at Clemson. Davis posted a 1,187-yard campaign (Sixth highest in Tiger history) a 5.85 yard per carry average to go along with 17 touchdowns (tied a single season record and 5th most in ACC History) earning him First-Team all ACC honors.
In 2007, Davis’s junior year at Clemson, it wasn’t stellar but still able to lead Clemson in rushing for the third straight year. Davis put up 1.064yards and 10 touchdowns in his junior year. Again, earning himself back to back First-Team all ACC honors (first since Tiger back since Terry Allen back in 87’ 88’)
Then in 2008 during spring practice, Davis suffered a separated shoulder. This was his senior year and had eyes on becoming an elite running back in the upcoming 2009 NFL Draft. This was definitely a setback but Davis still managed to lead Clemson in rushing (keep in mind CJ Spiller has been here since 96’) by posting 751yards and 11 touchdowns. Davis became the first Tiger in history to lead team in rushing all four years; with that he finished fourth in Tiger History in all-purpose yards.
Enter 2009 and the NFL Draft, Davis was projected to be a late round pick due to his up and down senior season at Clemson. Eventually, in round 6 the Cleveland Browns took a chance with James Davis. Everything was in place for Davis to succeed; Cleveland had an aging back in Jamal Lewis who was on the verge of retiring and a few unproven backs in Jerome Harrison, Peyton Hillis and Chris Jennings. Davis more than likely appeared on a lot of peoples fantasy radar during his pre-season game against the Detroit Lions, when he put up 12 carries and a 116yard 1td effort with an 81 yard touchdown run. He was looking like he could fill the hole that Jamal Lewis was about to leave. Then Davis’s rookie year got cut short on September 12th 2009 when he was involved in a one-car accident and suffered a head injury. Evidently Jamal Lewis went down for the year and we all know what Jerome Harrison did to us or for us the last few weeks of the season.
Enter 2010, Davis was recovering from his injuries and looking to make a return to put his name back on the map for Browns starting running back. Then, Browns draft Montario Hardesty in the 2nd round, opportunity shattered as Hardesty was predicted to be the Browns near future #1 RB. Now Davis had to be fighting for a roster spot as the Browns had their 3 running backs in Harrison, Hardesty and Hillis. He’s been working hard this off-season in hopes for another chance, another opportunity in his young career. Then September 3rd happened, the day Hardesty goes on the injured reserve, ending his season and lifting the spirit known as James Davis. This is his second chance at proclaiming himself as Browns starting running back as he’ll fight for carries with Harrison and Hillis (whose become a Cleveland favorite) so it might be tough; but opportunity arises.
Davis should be back on your fantasy radar as a possible handcuff to Harrison or just a nice late round flier with upside for your fantasy football team. This could be the beginning of something great for Davis, as Harrison doesn’t look like an every down back for Browns as they drafted Hardesty in the 2nd round and Hillis looks like he’ll just be a redzone or goaline back. Given Hardesty’s injury history with his knee’s and the stature of Harrison; if Davis performs well and gets the attention once again he could become a starter and put up nice numbers.