Looking Ahead: Running Back

Looking Ahead: Running Back


Looking Ahead: Running Back


After signing two running backs as part of the 2021 class in five-star Will Shipley and four-star Phil Mafah, landing a running back is not a critical need for the Tigers in the 2022 class, though they remain in the hunt.

Clemson continues to track some running backs, and one of those on the radar is Jennings (La.) four-star Trevor Etienne, of course the younger brother of former Clemson running back Travis Etienne.

Etienne participated in the Dabo Swinney Camp and attended the Tigers’ Elite Retreat in June. If he returns to campus for the All In Cookout this month as expected, it figures to further help Clemson’s chances with the nation’s No. 13 running back, per the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Beyond Etienne, the Tigers have only offered two other running backs in the 2022 class — five-star Emmanuel Henderson and four-star Branson Robinson. Henderson has already verbally committed to Alabama, while Robinson no-showed Clemson’s Elite Retreat and is down to Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee ahead of his scheduled decision date July 22.

Looking ahead to the 2023 class, Clemson has offered just two running backs in the next cycle, including the nation’s No. 1 running back in Lehigh Senior (Lehigh Acres, Fla) five-star Richard Young and the nation’s No. 3 back, Blessed Trinity Catholic (Roswell, GA) four-star Justice Haynes.

Young (pictured above) was recently offered directly by Dabo Swinney on an unofficial visit to Clemson’s campus. 

Young (6-0, 190) is the No. 1 running back and No. 17 overall prospect in the 2023 class, per the 247sports Composite rankings. 

As a sophomore last season, Young rushed for 982 yards and eight touchdowns on 100 carries, averaging 9.8 yards per attempt.

The Tigers have spent a little bit more time on Haynes, who took his unofficial visit back on June 1. He officially received an offer from the Tigers nearly 23 days later. His patience and high character paid off, leading to a fateful phone call with Clemson running backs coach C.J. Spiller.

On the behalf of Clemson’s offensive coaching staff, Spiller rewarded Haynes with the offer he had been waiting for.

“It means a lot,” Haynes said of receiving an offer from the Tigers. “Clemson is a prestigious school, they do things differently around there. Like I said, yes, it’s one of my dream schools, for them to offer me, it means a lot.”

Haynes (5-10, 195) is the No. 3 running back and No. 72 overall prospect in the 2023 class, per the 247sports Composite rankings. 

For now, Clemson has maintained its focus on Young and Haynes. 

Much less so, Rueben Owens, who is the nation’s No. 2 running back in the 2023 class. Even before he de-committed from the University of Texas, Owens was supposed to visit Clemson earlier this summer. That never took place and he hasn’t heard much of anything from Clemson or Spiller for that matter. 

It appears, at least for the time being, that the Tigers are keeping their options limited, as far as the running backs in the Class of 2023 are concerned.

Some other running back prospects we are keeping tabs on are Irmo (S.C.) Dutch Fork’s Jarvis Green and Miami (Fla.) Norland four-star Javin Simpkins, who is a Georgia Tech commit.

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