Davis, 5-foot-11, 210 pounds, is averaging 91.3 yards per game rushing. He leads the Tigers in scoring with five touchdowns – all on the ground – and he's also hauled in a 54-yard reception.
Davis' versatility and balance is symbolic of a Clemson team that has run and passed effectively in all three of its games.
UNC defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders said, "James Davis is a guy that can run inside, or he can beat you outside. But you can't focus just on him, because they're so talented elsewhere. That in itself lends for him to be a good performer."
In the Tigers' 19-10 Champs Sports Bowl win over Colorado, Davis' career-high 150 rushing yards was the second-highest total ever for a Clemson back in a bowl game. As a true freshman, he started six of the 11 games he played in last year, averaging 79.9 rushing yards per game – fourth-best in the conference.
His last rushing touchdown was a big one – a tie-breaking one-yarder with eight seconds to play in Clemson's 27-20 win over Florida State last week. Davis ran for 87 of the Tigers' 151 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
However, during his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden chose to downplay his team's rushing attack against the Seminoles, and fore-warned of an underrated Carolina defense out to earn respect.
"Eighty-five of those 151 rushing yards were on two plays, and on James' (47-yard run) there was nobody there to stop him," Bowden said. "They do count in the statistics, but it wasn't reality. I don't think we've played our best yet offensively.
"I think we'll see a different tone (from the UNC defense). Furman punted three times… and Virginia Tech punted seven times. For some reason they were stopping Virginia Tech a lot more than they were stopping Rutgers and Furman. I think you'll see them rise to the level of competition this Saturday."