on January 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Clemson’s Davis still undecided about senior season

ATLANTA — For the third time in his Clemson career, James Davis didn’t have the kind of the homecoming he wanted in his home town of Atlanta.

After two losses at Georgia Tech during his time as a Tiger, including once this season, Davis once again fell in the city of Atlanta when Clemson lost the Chick-fil-A Bowl to Auburn on Monday night by a final score of 23-20.

The questions circling around Davis, who finished the game with 72 yards on 23 carries, were plentiful as Davis said the game would have a serious impact on whether or not he would return for his senior season in lieu of an early entry into the NFL Draft.

Despite the loss, it appears Davis got the kind of closure he needed from this game to come back in orange and white next season, although he still doesn’t prefer to speak in absolutes so soon after completing his junior season.

“I haven’t made a decision. I’m still waiting for my papers to get here, but I haven’t had time to really think about it,” he said. “I’m definitely leaning towards staying, but I still want to go through the process and see what happens.”

Coming into the game, Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence had told Davis the game would be a preview of how he would be used in his impending senior season after Davis expressed his frustration of how he had been used this season.

He had been vocal about his lack of presence in short yardage situations, as the Tigers have opted to go to the air in situations normally reserved for a steady running threat such as Davis.

He got his wish tonight, as the Tigers fed him in the ball in those situations, which included a one yard touchdown plunge that marked his first score in his home city.

Davis, whose home is mere minutes away from the Georgia Dome, said that score was special, even though his team couldn’t come away with a victory.

“It’s not really frustrating tonight because I wasn’t really too down about losing in overtime,” he said. “Getting that first score felt good, and I’m just proud of my guys because they worked hard tonight.”

The score, which gave Clemson a 17-10 lead in the opening minutes of the quarter, will be a standout memory for Davis, but he’s disappointed it couldn’t have been remembered as the game winning score.

“I knew those guys would have a chance to get the ball back, so I didn’t think about it being a game winner,” Davis said. “It would have been nice, but there was a lot of time left on the clock for them.”

Given he returns for his senior season, Davis may have one last crack at a chance to leave his hometown with a win under his belt.

The Tigers won’t travel to Georgia Tech, but Clemson and Alabama are reportedly close to agreeing on a contract to play in the Georgia Dome to open the 2008 season.

And should Davis return, he’ll have a chance to assert himself as Clemson’s all-time leading rusher.

With his performance on Monday night, he not only became the third player in Clemson history to rush for 1,000 yards in two seasons, joining an elite fraternity that includes only Raymond Priester and Woody Danztler, but he moved into second place on the Tigers’ career rushing list.

He now has 3,130 yards on the season, and has only Priester to pass, who finished with 3,966 yards for his career.

But none of those goals will be accomplished until Davis formally announced his intentions for 2008, which is likely two to three months away.

Still, it seems the odds are good for Davis to get another shot at a homecoming victory.