Loganville (Ga.) Grayson four-star Phil Mafah, who became Clemson’s first commitment in the 2021 class last August, is no longer the only running back commit in the class.
Matthews (N.C.) Weddington five-star Will Shipley gave the Tigers a second running back commit when he jumped on board Tuesday, choosing Clemson over finalists Notre Dame, NC State, North Carolina and Stanford among numerous other offers.
“I was really excited because we got another commit, another running back in our class,” Mafah told The Clemson Insider. “I just can’t wait to get to work and compete, make each other better.”
Mafah believes he and Shipley have the potential to form a dynamic duo that will cause a lot of problems for opposing defenses at the next level.
“Just unstoppable, to be honest,” he said. “I feel like we both have attributes to where we can both be three-down backs, so we could be one of the best in the game, we could be lethal.”
For Mafah personally, he is 6-foot-1 and currently weighs 225 pounds. He hopes to play at 220 during his senior season and has been working hard while away from school during the pandemic to stay in shape and prepare for his final high school campaign.
“A couple of my friends, we stay out and do routes on air,” Mafah said. “We do a lot of that, and we have a weight room. One of my friends’ dads, we work out with him and do what we would do at our school, like our school workout. And I go to a trainer and I train and do some drills, speed and agility.”
Despite missing several games at the beginning of last season after suffering a broken collarbone, Mafah still managed to finish his junior season with 676 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2018, he ran for 720 yards and 10 scores.
There is no particular part of Mafah’s game that he is solely focused on improving – instead, he is striving to get better in all areas as a running back.
“I’d just really say everything,” he said. “Always working to improve. I feel like right now I’m in high school, so I’ve got to be bigger and stronger and I’ve got to up my game when I go to college. So, I need to work on everything – my strength, speed, balance, everything.”
Having been committed to Clemson for more than eight months, Mafah has built what he described as a “real tight” relationship with offensive coordinator/running backs coach Tony Elliott. The two stay in touch regularly.
“We talk about everything in life,” Mafah said. “How our families are doing, football, just talking about the season, our plans for the season and our goals.”
Mafah is ranked as high as the No. 9 running back and No. 173 overall prospect in the 2021 class by Rivals.
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