Clemson Football: Looking ahead at the 2024 running back room after Will Shipley's departure

With Will Shipley's entry into the NFL Draft, Phil Mafah becomes the feature back for Clemson in 2024, but the Tigers rarely use one rusher exclusively. Here are the options to find playing time behind Mafah next season.

Clemson running back Jay Hayes (26) runs against Kentucky during the fourth quarter of the TaxSlayer Bowl
Clemson running back Jay Hayes (26) runs against Kentucky during the fourth quarter of the TaxSlayer Bowl / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Clemson Football will have a big change in the running back room for the first time since 2021.

Will Shipley has declared for the 2024 NFL Draft and will not be returning to the Tigers next season.

As of right now, we do not have official word that Phil Mafah will return in 2024. He indicated before the Gator Bowl that he had not decided on his future.

The final deadline for entering the NFL Draft is January 15th. That gives Mafah about ten more days to decide on his future.

Obviously, the best-case scenario for Clemson is for Mafah to return for one more season as the feature back. This gives Clemson more opportunity to look at the players behind him on the depth chart before they have to step into a primary role in the offense.

One of the backups for 2024 will presumably be the starter in 2025. It will be fascinating to see how much the Tigers will rotate at running back next season. It will probably depend on how many guys step up in the spring and fall to prove they deserve snaps.

Clemson has gone as deep as a four-back rotation in the past. In 2017, they started with CJ Fuller, Adam Choice, Tavien Feaster, and a freshman named Travis Etienne. By the end of the season, that order had practically shifted a complete 180 degrees.

Here are the guys who will line up behind Mafah in 2024 if he returns. If he doesn’t, they will be the guys vying for the starting job. The next guy up is Keith Adams, Jr.