Clemson has a strong history of elite talent at the running back position. Even before Travis Etienne shattered both school and ACC records for rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns -- with the career ACC rushing yards record in his sights -- the Tigers had the likes of CJ Spiller, Andre Ellington and Wayne Gallman as featured playmakers in the backfield.
When five-star running back Demarkcus Bowman committed to the Tigers in May 2019 as the No. 2 running back in the 2020 recruiting class, it appeared as though he was next up in that long line of greatness. But Bowman's status with the future of the program is currently in question with 247Sports among those reporting that he has entered his name in the transfer portal.
Bowman has not been listed on the two-deep depth chart so far this year, slotted behind both junior Lyn-J Dixon and fifth-year senior Darien Rencher. He has appeared in both Clemson's games, totaling nine carries for 32 yards. He was never expected to battle Etienne, the two-time ACC Player of the Year, for touches, but there was excitement about his potential coming into the season. Bowman said in an interview with The Clemson Insider that the decision to enter the portal was more about being homesick than anything else.
"The closest family I had up here was my grandfather," Bowman told TCI. "He was the only reason I came to Clemson. I came so my grandfather could come and watch me play, but he passed away as the season started.
"I love Clemson. It is a really great program with absolutely great coaching. Stuff just hit me hard and I would just rather go to school and get my degree somewhere closer to home. There was not anything I disliked or nothing."
Dabo Swinney praised his explosiveness, "track speed" and ability to catch the ball out the backfield, noting that any play where Bowman has the ball in his hands is a potential touchdown waiting to happen. There was even a light comparison to Spiller himself, but Swinney was sure to package that compliment with attention on physical attributes and high school tape.
When Bowman showed up for fall camp, he checked a lot of boxes for the coaching staff in terms of offseason weight room work, with running backs coach Tony Elliott noting the next steps for the freshman would be getting comfortable with the offense.
While Bowman's name is in the transfer portal, he remains eligible to play for the Tigers and has not committed to leaving the team. It does, however, allow for other teams to contact him about a potential transfer. It's possible that Bowman is looking to explore his opportunities elsewhere before we get too deep into the season, leaving him the option to maintain a year of eligibility should he choose to transfer after just a couple of games.