Publish date:

Thunder and Lightning Part Deux?

New running backs coach C.J. Spiller has seen both freshmen running backs' potential but is urging Will Shipley and Phil Mafah to be themselves under high expectations early at Clemson.

Speaking to the media for the first time Wednesday regarding freshmen running backs Will Shipley and Phil Mafah reminded newly minted coach C.J. Spiller of his very own historic Clemson duo.

"(Shipley and Mafah) kind of remind you, I guess you could say, of James Davis and myself, but you don't want to put that type of pressure on them," Spiller said.

With high praise for two highly touted first-year Tigers, Spiller realizes potential doesn't equal reality and there will be growing pains along the way for both running backs.

"Both Will and Phil have looked great so far," Spiller said. "You expect them to come in and be just freshmen. They're going to have mistakes along the way. It's a new system.

"For Will, you know he didn't have a chance to play high school ball (his senior year), so you have to take into account that he hasn't played in over a year. So you have to be careful and make sure that he comes along properly. Phil, he's looked awesome. As good as advertised."

Since his junior year of high school, Shipley hasn't played in a regulation game, opting to leave early to have the extra preparation with the Tigers in spring.

“After sitting down and talking to the coaches at Clemson and (Weddington) Coach (Andy) Capone, I think it’s best for me to go up there and do what I want to do. To play early and make an impact when I get on campus. So this is something I needed to do to make sure I’m the best version of myself.” Shipley said in October of 2020.


Brent Venables at Dabo Swinney High School Camp in June 2021

Winning Culture Helped Attract Jaren Kanak to Clemson

All Clemson recently caught up with the Tigers newest commitment Jaren Kanak and the versatile 2022 prospect said the culture inside the program was a huge factor in his decision.


Former Clemson Star Hunter Renfrow Reflects on NFL, Life Experiences

Former Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow talks about adjusting to losing, fighting for his role, connection with his quarterback and being a new dad during a recent Las Vegas Raiders press conference.


Despite Dead Period Dabo Swinney Never Wavered On No Official Visit Policy

Dabo Swinney has a longstanding policy of not hosting recruits on official visits during the spring and summer and despite the current recruiting class getting off to a slow start due to the dead period, the Clemson head coach never considered lifting it.

Mafah missed some time later as a senior in high-school due to a leg injury, but with both now on the spring practice field, Spiller wants the freshmen to stay grounded and stick to what they know.

"The thing that I tell both of those guys is to be yourself, be who you are," Spiller said. "Don't worry about these high expectations that other people have on you, go out there and be the best version of yourself. Don't try to be anyone else. Both of those guys have done a tremendous job of that throughout the spring so far."

Commenting: To sign up for Discus our new commenting system, just use your Twitter, Facebook or email to register and you are in, very easy and quick to sign up! To find the find comment section just look below the Around the Web section below this article and get chatting! We would love to hear your thoughts and have you join our community!

More From All Clemson:

Swinney Updates Health of Justyn Ross

In Defense of Robbie Caldwell

Swinney Responds to Deshaun Watson Allegations