As was the case in spring practice, running back was the most competitive position for Clemson in fall camp, according to offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.
Lyn-J Dixon, Kobe Pace nor true freshman Will Shipley have started a game at running back for the Tigers, but they’ve consistently led the competition having all gotten first-team reps during fall camp.
So, which one will run out first when third-ranked Clemson takes on No. 5 Georgia at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte?
Elliott was asked that question during his media availability Monday.
“Good question. We’re trying to figure that out,” Elliott said. “You see I was a few minutes late. We’re still in there having some meeting with Coach (Dabo) Swinney talking about personnel. But it’s been competitive. Just like we talked about last spring, probably the most competitive position has been the running back position. So, I’m excited to see how that unfolds.”
“So, we have a ton of competition going into this last week, and we may not know until 7:30 who’s running out there first,” Elliott added. “But it’s a good thing because it’s competitive and it keeps those guys hungry, and then they’re going to be ready and appreciative of their opportunities when they do get them.”
Asked about Shipley – the former five-star prospect and nation’s top-ranked all-purpose back in the 2021 class – Elliott said if Clemson running backs coach C.J. Spiller decides he wants Shipley to start, then he will and Elliott would not hesitate to play him early.
“Shipley, as we all know, is an exceptional young man,” Elliott said. “Very mature for his age, and you saw that throughout the course of camp – that even if you throw him in there with the ones, he wasn’t overwhelmed, and when you give him the ball, he’s going to know what to do. He’s like Travis as a freshman. You give Travis the ball as a freshman, he’s going to know what to do. But what impressed me is just his understanding of defensive structure and anticipation and blitz pickup. So, I have no doubt that when the lights come on, it’s not going to be too bright for Will Shipley.”
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