Clemson’s Wayne Gallman is CFB’s most underappreciated star

Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Wayne Gallman (9) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Wayne Gallman (9) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is seen by a majority of people around the nation as the best player in college football. However, there is one Tiger that people need to take notice of.

The Clemson Tigers are walking into the 2016 season as one of the few teams projected to make the College Football Playoffs and possibly the national championship game. And it’s no surprise why they are projected to go that far this upcoming season.

Clemson possesses quite possibly the best, most talented player in college football in Heisman contender, quarterback Deshaun Watson. The soon-to-be junior was near perfect last year for the Tigers as he completed 67.8-percent of his passes for 4,109 yards and 35 touchdowns. Watson also rushed for 1,105 and 12 touchdowns to add onto those video-game like passing statistics.

Watson is undoubtedly the star of this Tiger offense, but this offense isn’t just the Gainesville, Georgia native. In fact, this Clemson offense might have the most under appreciated star in college football as well.

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While Watson and his two talented receivers, Artavis Scott and Mike Williams, are receiving most of the national love by college football fanatics, those fans are overlooking the talent that is Clemson running back Wayne Gallman.

The running back isn’t seen as Clemson’s No. 1, 2 or even maybe 3 superstar, but despite that he is a potential Heisman sleeper by ESPN’s Marty Smith. And it is easy to see why Smith believes why Gallman could fly under the radar and contend for college football’s most coveted award.

Last season Gallman had a spectacular sophomore campaign. The now junior Loganville, Georgia native rushed for 1,527 yards and 13 touchdowns on 283 carries. That was good for an average of 5.4 yards per carry. That rushing output was good for No. 13 nationally and was second in the Atlantic Coast Conference right behind Florida State’s Dalvin Cook.

Yes, those numbers are impressive, but something more impressive is the player that Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables compares Gallman too.

“Coach Venables is always telling me that me and [Viking running back] Adrian Peterson have the same body type, being around the 215 range and trying to push to get around 217, 220 this season,” Gallman said to ESPN. “Coach Venables has told me, ‘You kind of run the same.’”

Gallman is a north and south runner who, once he gets into open field, he can run over smaller defenders or even run around them.

While Gallman produced high level numbers in 2015, he came up short for the Tigers when it mattered most. In the national title game against Alabama, Gallman had his lowest output of the season as he only rushed for 45 yards. But before the championship game against the Crimson Tide, Gallman consistently produced high level opponents.

When Clemson took on Notre Dame last year, the weather was almost near hurricane like conditions. Memorial Stadium experienced heavy rain after flooding that night, but despite the conditions Gallman had himself an outstanding game.

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The running back sloshed his way to a game high 111 yards. That was more than double than any Irish rusher and on his runs, he displayed a physical edge while maintaining his speed.

He also came up big for Clemson in the ACC title game against North Carolina.

Gallman rushed for 187 yards and one touchdown against a strong Tar Heel defense. And then he came up big for the Tigers against the Oklahoma Sooners, as he rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the Orange Bowl game.

But if Gallman wants to be finally noticed by the rest of the nation, he will have to improve in the receiving game.

Out of the backfield last year Gallman only caught 21 passes for 213 yards and one touchdown. If he could improve on those numbers, Gallman will finally be seen as one of the nation’s elite talent in 2016.

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It will tough for Gallman to gain a lot of national attention considering him sharing a backfield with Watson. However, he will have a ton of opportunities to do so with Clemson having the nation’s eye on them throughout the course of the season as the play in marquee games against Auburn to open the season and Florida State later in the year. And if Gallman can produced high level statistics against those opponents, he will finally be appreciated by the whole college football scene.