Last week, third-ranked Clemson trotted out seven running backs against Kent State. The Tiger running backs combined for 280 yards while the offense rushed for 353 overall.
The stable of running backs expect a bigger challenge on Saturday as they face a stingy No. 13 Auburn defense in a primetime matchup in Death Valley. However, the depth at the position is a point of confidence for the Tiger offense.
Local product C.J. Fuller of Easley High School earned the starting slot in the rotation throughout camp and leads a group of four that showed very little separation, but a lot of talent in the season opener.
Fuller drew first blood while tallying seeing seven carries for 51 yards. He reached the end zone twice, one from 26 yards and the second from two yards out. He performed well and scored a rushing touchdown for the first time since the 2015 season.
The redshirt-Junior contributed to last season’s national championship run with 211 rushing yards and two touchdown receptions, one coming in the College Football Playoff semifinal game against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Leading the unit is not something Fuller shies away from but rather a challenge he embraces. He recognizes the competition is beneficial to both himself and the team.
“They are all great and push me every day to give my all” he said. “Coach (Dabo Swinney) preaches best is the standard and having young guys pushing you is very helpful.”
Holding onto the starting position with a slew of talent behind him is no easy task. However, Fuller trusts his coaching staff and is focusing on maximizing his opportunity.
“I’m leaving it up to the coaches” he said. “They have a good plan and it’s been successful.”
The Kent State game showed very little difference between the four main backs. Neither Fuller, Adam Choice, Travis Etienne, or Tavien Feaster eclipsed 100 yards on the day, but all four reached the end zone.
Saturday’s game with Auburn could show separation in the battle for carries. Last weekend Auburn shut down the Georgia Southern triple-option attack surrendering a meager 70 yards on the ground on 47 attempts.
“They have a great defense, I watched some film from last year and Saturday they are very good and athletic” Fuller said.
However, Fuller is no stranger to stiff defensive fronts and is ready for the SEC’s Tigers.
“We go against a great defense every day at practice so I don’t feel like we will be overwhelmed” he said.