Tigers in unfamiliar territory

Tigers in unfamiliar territory


Tigers in unfamiliar territory


Clemson has not been in this position in a long time.

Over the last seven seasons the Tigers have relied on a premier running back to anchor their offense.

But after Travis Etienne graduated and was selected by the Jaguars with the 25th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft Clemson needs to fill a massive hole.

The Tigers aim to compete for another national championship this season without the bulk of its offensive production from one year ago in the absence of Trevor Lawrence, Etienne, Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell.

Since 2014 two players have led Clemson in rushing, Etienne and Wayne Gallman. The last time a different Tiger led that category Rod McDowell toted the rock and freshmen Phil Mafah and Will Shipley were in elementary school.

Now a slew of talented young running backs have an opportunity to seize the spot vacated by Etienne, the ACC’s all-time leading rusher.

Kobe Pace emerged as perhaps the top candidate at running back after spring practice. The sophomore recorded 18 carries for 75 yards and five receptions for 26 yards and a receiving touchdown in nine games last season. In the spring game Pace ran for 69 yards on six carries and showed promise.

Shipley enters with plenty of acclaim as a five-star and the No. 2 running back in the country out of the 2021 class after a stellar high school career at Weddington High School in Matthews, N.C.

Mafah showed his potential in the spring game with six carries for 38 yards and a four yard touchdown in the Orange and White game. The freshman brings raw power to the running back room.

Etienne’s shoes will be difficult to fill but there is plenty of young talent ready to make an impact at running back for Clemson.

Clemson Athletic Communications contributed to this story

Time to get the latest Clemson apparel to show your Tiger pride. Order your officially licensed Clemson gear right here!



When spring practices came to a close this past April, D.J. Uiagalelei said he was going to do two things by the time fall camp started. The first was to go back and study himself from the spring and see how he (…)


Clemson has picked up a new commitment from a prospect in the Class of 2023. Aidan Knaak, a right-handed pitcher from Fort Myers, Fla., announced his commitment to the Tigers’ baseball program via social (…)


Clemson will be without one of their offensive lineman for the foreseeable future.  The announcement was confirmed by the player Tuesday night. Tigers redshirt sophomore guard Tayquon Johnson (…)


Trevor Lawrence struggled at Jaguars training camp on Monday as he threw three interceptions. But his teammate and fellow Clemson standout Travis Etienne stood up for Lawrence in his post practice (…)

More The Clemson Insider