New York Giants fans had been celebrating around the clock following the 2019 debut performance of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.
However, fans quickly had their hearts ripped out of their chests with news on Monday that Saquon Barkley’s injury would keep him out of the lineup for a prolonged period of time. With Barkley on the mend, the Giants will turn to unheralded running back Wayne Gallman to carry the load in the New York backfield.
Let’s take a deep dive into the Giants’ new starting running back and get to know a bit more about Gallman and his history.
Follow the Heavy on Giants for all the latest stories, rumors and viral content!
Wayne Gallman Overshadowed at His Own High School
Gallman, whose parents are Felecia Sheard and Wayne Gallman Sr., was born on October 1st, 1994. Gallman’s father was a Battalion Sergeant Major for the Marine Corp.
Wayne’s athletic traits run through his family bloodline. His father played football at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville Florida. Wayne Sr. would also go on to become a football coach at Middleburg High School in Jacksonville.
The younger Gallman would follow in his dad’s footsteps of high school football stardom, however, he took his talents a bit north of Florida.
Gallman attended Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia. He quickly flexed his athletic prowess as a Grayson Ram. He shined on the gridiron on both sides of the football, starting as a running back and linebacker. His abilities as a defender were so impressive that many recruits projected the athlete as a linebacker at the next level. Yet even with his impressive play during his time at Grayson, Rivals.com graded Gallman as just a three-star prospect in the 2013 recruiting class and the No. 36 best player in the state of Georgia.
The player Rivals deemed the best player in Georgia also happened to be Gallman’s teammate. Defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche was the unanimous top recruit in the country across all recruiting platforms. Gallman actually shared backfield duties with Nkemdiche, who doubled as a running back during his time at Grayson.
The teammates helped lead their school to an undefeated 15–0 record in their then-junior season while capturing a GHSA 6A state title.
Unheralded Recruit to National Champ
Gallman’s three-star branding didn’t stop the big dogs from knocking on his door. Gallman was offered scholarships by SEC powerhouses such as Georgia and Auburn, but he opted to leave home and attend Clemson University in South Carolina.
Gallman redshirted in 2013, his freshman season as a Tiger. However, the running back would quickly make a name for himself the following season, starting nine games for the Tigers. Gallman would beat out higher-rated recruits such as a Tyson Dye and Adam Choice during his time at the school, earning his majority ownership of backfield duties at Clemson in 2015 and 2016.
And in the final game of Gallman’s collegiate career, on January 9th, 2017, he helped Clemson dethrone Nick Saban and the daunting Alabama Crimson Tide to win a National Championship. Gallman touched the ball 21 times that night, scoring one touchdown vs. Bama.
Gallman Earns Nickname While Breaking Clemson Record
While Gallman’s physical running played a role in Clemson capturing a national title, it also helped the Georgia native break the school’s single-season record for rushing yards in 2015 with 1,527 yards.
Gallman’s near reckless abandonment on the football field birthed the “Wayne Train” moniker. However, Gallman himself was initially far from a fan of the nickname placed upon him, even deeming it “corny,” as NJ.com revealed. Yet, the running back would eventually hop on board with the Wayne Train himself.
It certainly helped that the school would churn out train sounds during games on the speakers at Memorial Stadium when he would rip off a big play.
Gallman Slides to Fourth Round of NFL Draft
For all of Gallman’s collegiate domination, he was once again overlooked, this time by the NFL. Gallman would slide to the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Giants scooped up the Clemson product with the No. 140 overall pick.
Gallman stated he expected to go much higher in the draft, although from the looks of this tweet from Draft Day 2017, he used it as motivation moving forward.
It took Gallman a little while to see the field in his rookie season, but once he did, he quickly carved out a role for himself within the offense. Gallman averaged 4.3 rushing yards and reeled in 34 receptions while playing second fiddle to then-starting running back Orleans Darkwa.
Gallman seemed primed to earn more playing time in his second NFL season, however, the New York Giants had different ideas. The team would select uberly-talented Saquon Barkley with the second overall draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, ending any hope Gallman had of starting in his sophomore campaign. Gallman would carry the ball 60 times less in his second NFL season than he did as a rookie.
Wayne Gallman Finally Gets His NFL Starting Shot
Losing Saquon Barkley in Week 3 of the 2019 NFL season was a major blow to an otherwise exhilarating evening for the Giants.
The Giants quickly went away from the run game following Barkley’s exit from the game vs. the Bucs, opting to instead put the ball into the hands of their rookie signal-caller Daniel Jones. Not a bad decision in retrospective. Gallman only carried the ball five times in Week 3. However, that number is likely to skyrocket over the next handful of weeks.
Reports broke Monday that Barkley is expected to miss somewhere between four and eight weeks with an ankle injury.
Many have speculated that the Giants will be in the market to add a running back via free agency or trade, which is certainly still a possibility. However, it is currently Gallman’s backfield in New York, and Head Coach Pat Shurmur seems okay with that at the moment.
Gallman may not be as flashy or talented as Barkley, although not many, if any, running backs in this league are. However, Gallman is more than a serviceable back who does everything well.
Gallman has averaged 4.0+ ypg as a runner in his two-plus NFL seasons. He’s also a capable pass-catcher, grabbing at least 20 receptions every year in college, and 51 catches in the NFL despite his limited usage rate.
Gallman has essentially zero chance of asserting himself as the New York Giants’ franchise running back. That honor is firmly locked down by Saquon Barkley. Barkley will take his rightful place atop the team’s depth chart the moment he is cleared by team doctors. However, that doesn’t mean that Gallman can’t buff up his resume to either earn additional touches even when Barkley returns, or to earn more touches elsewhere in the future.
The former Grayson High School standout has been overshadowed and overlooked his entire career. He’s also always stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park with his gritty and productive play.
If you know what’s best for you, you won’t position yourself as a Wayne Gallman doubter. Because as history has shown, he will undoubtedly prove you wrong.