Pace will be 'Thunder' to Bowman's 'Lightning'
The eight summer enrollees in Clemson’s 2020 signing class reported to campus last weekend, following the 15 midyear enrollees who joined the team in January ahead of spring practice.
In our Fresh Look at Clemson’s Summer Enrollees series, The Clemson Insider gives an in-depth review of the newcomers, breaks down what each player does best, how they will fit in and more. In this article, we focus on Kobe Pace:
Hometown (high school): Cedartown, Ga. (Cedartown)
Height, weight: 5-11, 215
Prospect ratings/rankings: 4-star, No. 15 RB, No. 33 state (Rivals); 4-star, No. 32 RB, No. 40 state (ESPN); 3-star, No. 48 RB, No. 78 state (247Sports)
High school stats/accolades: Recorded 1,471 yards rushing in 211 carries for a 7.0-yard average and added 25 receptions for 358 yards for 1,829 total yards from scrimmage as a senior, finishing the year with 12 rushing touchdowns, two receiving touchdowns and two on kickoff returns … also completed 3-of-4 passes for 100 yards and two scores … also added 33 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss with 4.5 sacks on defense … named Region 5A Player of the Year … as a junior, had 721 yards rushing on 93 attempts for a 7.3-yard average … was also an outstanding linebacker who was voted Two-Way Player of the Year (Ironman Award) in Region 5A … all-state selection by Georgia Coaches Association … named to all-area team as well
Scouting report: An all-around athlete who played football, basketball and baseball over his career at Cedartown, Kobe Pace – who legally changed his last name from Pryor to Pace, adopting his mother’s last name, in April – is a strong, thickly built running back who plays with a low center of gravity. He is a bruising one-cut style runner with good vision who is able to quickly find a hole to hit and get downhill. While he would not be classified as a burner, Pace is plenty fast enough, accelerates nicely once he has a lane and can run by guys en route to the end zone. He has good lateral agility and is capable of making attempted tacklers miss in the open field, but he is at his best when running between the tackles. Pace is a powerful, violent runner and made a habit of plowing over defenders in high school. He is tough to bring down and should be a back the Tigers can go to in short-yardage and goal-line situations. He is solid as a receiver in the passing game as well.
How he fits in: Pace is one of two running backs the Tigers signed in their 2020 class along with five-star Demarkcus Bowman. The two complement each other well with Pace providing the power and Bowman bringing the top-end speed.
Clemson’s offense featured the iconic “Thunder and Lightning” duo in James Davis and C.J. Spiller from 2006-08, and more than a decade later, head coach Dabo Swinney believes the Tigers will have a new Thunder and Lightning tandem in Bowman, the Lightning, and Pace, the Thunder.
“Think about Double Thunder right here because Kobe, this guy is a powerful, relentless runner and is going to be an unbelievable duo right here with he and Demarkcus,” Swinney said. “A great young man. … Kobe (Pace), man, this is a man’s man. How can you not be great with a name like Kobe?”
Coach speak: Clemson offensive coordinator/running backs coach Tony Elliott on Pace:
“What I like about this young man is he’s so humble, such a hard worker. If you notice the last couple of guys that we’ve had in the running back room that’s come out of a little small country town, they’ve just got an edge to them, and I think he’s a great compliment to Demarkcus. You’ve got Thunder and you’ve got Lightning. But this guy is very elusive as well for a big guy, catches the ball well out of the backfield, played some quarterback. So, I think that you guys are going to be excited about Kobe (Pace).”
—Clemson Athletic Communications contributed to this story
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