Today for #FlashbackFriday we look back at Clemson’s All Time Leader in rushing yards
After rushing for over 5600 yards at Allendale-Fairfax High, Raymond Priester chose to play his collegiate football at Clemson over South Carolina. The Gamecocks wanted him as a linebacker but Rick Stockstill told him coming to Clemson meant getting to play running back. That was what he wanted to hear.
The 6’1 235 lb back attended Clemson from 1993-97 and is still the school’s all time leading rusher with 3966 yards. It’s one of 18 school records he holds.
At the start of his freshman season in 1994, Priester was playing the fullback position. Just a couple of weeks into camp he was moved to tailback, and the rest is history. He went on to carry the ball 87 times for 343 yards and was named Honorable Mention All ACC by the ACSWA as a freshman.
Heading into his sophomore season in 1995, he was named the #1 fullback in the nation by the Sporting News in their preseason magazine. He had 1322 yards rushing, the second most rushing yards in a season in school history, and was named second team All ACC. On Nov 11 against Duke, he went off for 263 yards on 32 carries, setting the school record that still stands for most yards in a game. He became just the second Tiger to lead the ACC in rushing since 1967, and had five games with over 100 yards on the ground.
As a junior in 1996, he finished second in the ACC with 1325 rushing yards. Seven different times he eclipsed the century mark in rushing yards and was second team All ACC for the second consecutive season. He also had a career long 65 yard run vs UofSC.
As a senior in 1997, Priester was hampered by injury, yet was still named 1st team All ACC after finishing with 956 yards. He was nominated for the Doak Walker Award and was named an Honorable Mention All American by Football News.
On top of holding the all time rushing record, Priester also holds the school record for career all purpose yards with 4282. He was the first Tiger RB to be named first or second team All ACC for 3 straight seasons.
Raymond Priester was one of the bright spots of the program during the dark days of the Tommy West era. He didn’t possess trailblazing speed, but he really didn’t need it. He was one of those bruisers that would just run through you or over you.
Far too often during discussions of the greatest running backs to ever wear the Paw, Priester’s name gets left out of the conversation. After all, he’s been the school’s leader in rushing yards for more than thirty years and he is still responsible for two of the four best seasons in school history in regards to rushing yards by a running back.
Whether he deserves recognition as the greatest to date is up for debate, but at the very least he should have his name mentioned in the discussion. He’s earned it.
Check out some of his highlights