When folks talked about the Clemson offense this year, they gravitated toward one of three topics:
When folks talked about running backs in the ACC this year, they gravitated toward these guys:
Andre Ellington? Well, he was Andre Ellington: solid, productive and almost an afterthought, a player so good at what he does that perhaps that we all just took his season for granted. After all, just about everybody expected him to get to 1,000 yards for the second straight season.
He got there quietly and with little fanfare, earning first-team All-ACC honors for the first time in his career while being an integral part of the Tigers offense.
What's more, he was able to start all 12 games for the first time in his career as well.
"I felt like I played pretty good," Ellington said in a recent phone interview with ESPN.com. "I felt like I did some great things, but there were some things I felt like I didn’t do. The overall picture is we had a great season, we finished 10-2 and hopefully we can go into the bowl game and get our 11th victory."
One of the biggest goals Ellington set for himself this season was to try and stay healthy all year. He did hurt his hamstring against Duke on his first carry of the game, but he was able to play in every contest and ended the regular season with 1,031 yards. What helped him stay healthy and productive -- he worked hard on his body in the offseason. He also had fewer carries this year -- 201 compared to 223 last year.
"I just wanted to put that whole season together where I could finish out strong and stay healthy," Ellington said. "The guys behind me, they had a chance to play last year a little bit here and there. This year, they got more reps so they felt more comfortable with them in to get me a break here and there. I worked on my body throughout the year and it helped."
Ellington said he has not thought about what it will be like playing in his final game for the Tigers against LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31. Nor has he thought about where he could go in the NFL draft. But when asked for his best memory during his time at Clemson, he did not point to a highlight or a moment on the field.
Rather, Ellington said, "I’d say my best memory is the day I got here. Just taking that step into another level in my life, meeting guys I never thought I’d get along with. I [kept] to myself in high school, so just getting guys from different places, becoming brothers. It’s a family with them now."