With Travis Etienne off to the NFL, the running back job is wide open at Clemson.
Most have rising senior Lyn-J Dixon pegged as the guy to take over for the Tigers all-time leading rusher, but that hasn’t stopped second-year back Kobe Pace from making his own push for the job.
“All of us come out like the position is wide open,” Pace told the media on Wednesday. “We all come out happy, with good energy, and ready to compete.”
Pace is excited about getting the chance to learn from the Tigers’ new running backs coach CJ Spiller and can’t wait to soak up the knowledge the former Clemson great brings to the job.
“Knowing his background and what he’s done here at Clemson is really neat,” Pace said. “I take all the teaching and try to apply it.”
Speaking of Spiller, recently the former Clemson running back had some very high praise for the Tigers second-year back.
“Kobe is a sophomore, second year in system,” Spiller said. “Running style very unique. If you wanted to compare it, kind of say that Nick Chubb type of comparison. Big back with power but he has the speed. I’ve been very pleased with what he’s done so far.”
While Spiller has been pleased with what he has seen from Pace so far this spring, he was also quick to point out that the rising sophomore knows there is still plenty of work to do.
“He still has a long way to go,” Spiller said. “He took the right strides from year one and year two. To me, that’s what you always want to see as a coach. In the NFL, that’s what guys always want to see. The jump guys make from year one to year two, and he’s made a tremendous jump so far. He has to continue to work and he knows that.”
One goal Pace came into the spring with was mastering the playbook, something that can take time for the running backs in the Clemson offense. Another was trying to shed a little weight. Pace came to camp last fall at 216 pounds and currently weighs 213.
“I wanted to learn the playbook and get my weight down since I came in a little heavy,” Pace said. “I’m trying to get down to 210. Wanted to keep my balance up and make sure I’m learning good weight room habits.”
Pace thinks he has all the skills necessary required to make a successful every down back at the Power-5 level, and is looking forward to getting the opportunity to prove it on the field.
“I think I can make you miss,” Pace said. “I can do it all a little bit. I can go through you too.”