Throughout the illustrious history of Clemson running backs, perhaps none have made the most of their time on the college football scene quite like Wayne Gallman. After redshirting in 2013, Gallman proceeded to solidify himself as the running back of the future midway through the 2014 season. Now, after leading the Tigers in rushing for three consecutive years en route to becoming Clemson’s fifth all-time leading rusher, the multi-talented back affectionately known as the “Wayne Train” is taking his broad array of talents to the NFL.
When speaking on Gallman’s NFL outlook this past fall, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters, “He’s going to be a great NFL player. People just don’t know what they’re getting out of him.”
Though difficult to believe, Swinney’s quote, which implied that Gallman was flying under the radar, was more than appropriate, as he is considered a third-round prospect by most draft pundits.
A powerful runner with an impeccable ability to shed tackles, Gallman used the momentum accrued from his 2014 campaign to solidify himself as one of the nation’s best and brightest backs the next football. With 1,527 rushing yards in total, Gallman was a highlight reel as a redshirt sophomore, consistently stringing together impressive runs. Gallman later proved to be a formidable threat in the receiving department, too, using his tackle-shedding acumen to extend plays.
Gallman is the epitome of workhorse running back. He was a star at Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga., where he was coached by current Clemson co-defensive backs coach Mickey Conn. From there, Gallman translated that star power to the collegiate level, becoming perhaps the most dependable weapon on college football’s most talented offense.
Though Gallman suited up for only three seasons as a Tiger, he set the school record for 100-yard rushing performances at 17 and, with 34 career touchdowns on the ground, departed with the third-most rushing touchdowns in program history. He was also an All-ACC selection each of the past two seasons, setting the single-season rushing mark at Clemson in 2015 and tying the single-season rushing touchdown standard in 2016.
At 6-0, 210 pounds, Gallman seems to glide across the field when in open space, resembling Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson. Like Dickerson, Gallman sports the size, speed, ball-carrying skills and playmaking ability needed to succeed at the next level. Gallman’s most vital attribute, however, is his commendable selflessness.
Early on in his high school career, Gallman embraced his role as an outside linebacker, becoming one of Grayson’s best at the position. He carried that team-first attitude forward when playing for Clemson, embracing every opportunity that he had to make a difference for his team. Fighting for every yard on seemingly each carry, Gallman was a stellar third-down back for the Tigers, something that should aid his professional aspirations.
Gallman was eligible to make the jump to the NFL after last season, but true to form, he opted to return to Clemson and help lead his team to the top of the mountain. A key cog in the Tigers’ national championship run, Gallman succeeded is now poised to contribute to the NFL team that will select him in April’s draft. Good things come to those who wait and those who work, and Gallman has done his fair share of both along his patient path to football stardom.