Clemson Spring Practice Preview: Running Backs

If there is one position group on the offensive side of the ball that will be considered the Tigers strongest headed into spring practice it would have to be the running backs.

A huge difference this spring is they know exactly what their young stable of running backs Kobe Pace, Phil Mafah, and Will Shipley are capable of now that they have gained some experience.

Everyone will be watching to see if Pace, a junior and the elder of the group, continues to build on his breakout season in 2021. He enters this spring having 716 yards total yards and six touchdowns on 122 rushes, along with 17 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown in his 20 games (six starts) as a Tiger. Of those, 641 yards and six touchdowns came last season. All six starts did as well.

Then you have Shipley, who over the back half of the season looked like he had been rushing for this Clemson offense for years. He heads into the spring looking to build on a freshman season where he definitely lived up to the hype he received coming out of high school.

Then there is Mafah who rushed for 292 total yards and three touchdowns on just 68 attempts after the plan to redshirt him had to be scrapped due to injuries during the season. While he didn’t play as much as Pace or Shipley last year, his ceiling is still extremely high and he’s likely on the verge of a breakout season of his own.

The only real question about this group centers around the depth. The Tigers typically like to carry five running backs, but currently only have four, with one of those being true freshman Keith Adams Jr, who won’t arrive on campus until this summer.

Don’t expect Dabo Swinney to look to the portal, though. Back on signing day he sounded as if he was satisfied with what the Tigers had and if the need arose for a fifth, there were a couple of walk-ons that he has complete confidence in.

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