3 questions about the Clemson Football running backs this spring

Phil Mafah is the feature back for the Tigers this fall, but this spring we could learn a little more about who is most likely to be his primary back-up.

Clemson running back Phil Mafah (7)
Clemson running back Phil Mafah (7) / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Is Jay Haynes ready to emerge?

Clemson had an opportunity to see how their depth would perform during two early season matchups against Charleston Southern and Florida Atlantic. The second and third strings saw the field in the latter parts of both games, and the name that stood out most among the running backs was Jay Haynes.

Haynes was a 3-star guy out of high school but some observers thought the Tigers had found a diamond in the rough. For a brief time in those two games, it looked like they could be right. Haynes had six carries for 35 yards (5.8 yards per), a rushing touchdown, 2 catches for 20 yards, and a receiving touchdown.

Not bad, but it was garbage time against Group of Five and FCS opponents. Unfortunately, Haynes was injured as the season progressed and didn’t see any more significant action.

I am looking forward to seeing how Haynes performs in the spring, particularly if he becomes a weapon out of the backfield for the passing attack, but also if he can hold up blocking for his quarterback when he isn’t the target.

That is something of a prerequisite for meaningful playing time for the Tigers. To that end, as well as questions about whether he can stay healthy as a sophomore, the biggest question will be where he measures in at the Big Weigh-In at the beginning of fall camp.

Haynes was a petite 188 pounds last August. He will need to be at least 200 pounds before I feel comfortable that he could be effective in any way against blitzing linebackers.

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