RB Wayne Gallman chats with Giants.com to recap his rookie year and talk 2018 goals:
Three and a half months after Clemson's 35-31 win over Alabama in the 2017 National Championship, six Tigers heard their names called during April's NFL Draft, including first-round selections Mike Williams (No. 7, Chargers) and Deshaun Watson (No. 12, Texans).
In Round 4, running back Wayne Gallman became the fourth Tiger off the board when the Giants took him with the 140th overall pick.
In three seasons wearing the Orange and Regalia, Gallman ended with 3,416 rushing yards and 34 rushing touchdowns, good for fifth and third in program history, respectively. The Tigers went 38-5 during that stretch, capped off by the win over Alabama.
Gallman's first taste of NFL action didn't come until Week 4 in Tampa Bay. When his opportunity finally came, Gallman made it count. The rookie finished with team-high totals of 11 carries for 42 yards, and he added two catches for eight yards, including a four-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
The Georgia native became the first Giants running back to score a touchdown of any kind in his pro debut since Brandon Jacobs, also a fourth-round pick, did it back in 2005.
The strong debut also came on Gallman's 23rd birthday, and earned him a text from Dabo Swinney, his head coach at Clemson.
"He just said he missed me, said happy birthday and everything," Gallman told Giants.com. "He said he's proud of me."
Gallman ended his rookie season with 111 carries for 476 rushing yards, a 4.3 YPC average. He added 193 receiving yards on 34 receptions. His lone touchdown of the year came against Tampa Bay. Gallman finished the year with his best effort of the season, a career-high 89 rushing yards in a Week 17 win over Washington.
Individual stats aside, Gallman's first year in East Rutherford wasn't quite what he'd grown accustomed to back at Clemson. From fresh off a National Championship to a 3-13 season with the Giants, Gallman admits he learned lot in 2017 about going through tough times.
"It was a long season and you know there's a lot of adversity that we went through," Gallman said. "I've learned a lot. How to take it, how to handle it, how to get better from it and how to prosper in my own game."
Gallman says he leaned heavily on veterans in the running back room like Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa.
"Just staying together, keeping each other's heads up," Gallman said. "Also on the field if we see something on the sideline and they may not see it, then we'll give word. Also off the field, just going out to dinner; we do stuff like that as well."
With his rookie season in the rearview mirror, Gallman plans on spending the upcoming offseason improving all facets of his game.
"I'm about to work my butt off," Gallman said. "I'm not going to say too much but just be ready for next year."