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Not since the days of James Davis, C.J. Spiller and Reggie Merriweather has Clemson been so deep with talent at the running back position.

All three, at one point in their careers, led the Tigers in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, and in 2006 they all shared the backfield together. That season, they combined for 2,296 yards and 29 touchdowns. Only Danny Ford’s 1980s teams had more success.

Potentially, that could all change in 2022.

Clemson once again has three talented running backs, who all showed they have the potential, and the talent, to take over a game. Will Shipley, Kobe Pace and Phil Mafah combined for 1,671 yards and 20 touchdowns this past season.

Shipley had three games—Florida State, Wake Forest and South Carolina—where he was unstoppable, while Pace had big games against Boston College, Syracuse and Wake. Mafah also had good games against BC and FSU.

“Those running backs are unbelievable kids, first off,” Clemson offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter said recently. “Great hearts, great character and great teammates. On top of that, just their ability. You guys have seen these last several games.”

Shipley rushed for 128 yards and scored two touchdowns against the Seminoles, while tallying 111 yards and two scores against the Demon Deacons. He also ran all over the Gamecocks with 128 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers’ 30-0 victory in Columbia.

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Pace’s best game came against Wake Forest, as he rushed for a season-high 191 yards and had two touchdowns. He also had 125 yards against BC and a touchdown as well.

Mafah’s best games came against BC (8-58) and FSU (9-69).

“We have a lot of young guys that are going to help us out a lot in the future,” Streeter said.

They helped them out a lot this year, and never was it more evident than in last month’s Cheez-It Bowl win over Iowa State.

Shipley and Pace combined for 203 of the Tigers’ 315 yards. Shipley rushed for 61 yards and scored the offense’s lone touchdown, while also grabbing five passes for 53 more yards.

Pace had 51 yards on the ground and hauled in four balls for 38 yards.

“I think, this game speaks for itself. We kind of put it on display what we are able to do,” Shipley said afterwards. “There were seven scholarship receivers either injured or in the portal, so we kinda knew we were going to have to take a lot of the load tonight. I think we did a great job.”

Shipley led Clemson with 738 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2021, while Pace ran for 641 yards and scored six touchdowns.

“To kind of have him, someone who can kind of come in and take a little bit of a load off me in a game like today and do his part and just absolutely kill it, makes it a lot easier for a guy like me,” Shipley said.