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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The walk-ons

Coach Swinney has never lacked the walk-on element on his roster, having been a walk-on wide receiver himself at Alabama. The legend of Hunter Renfrow continues to grow.

Clemson has had success at running back with walk-ons as well. Darien Rencher grew from being someone we annually anticipated to get plenty of second-half carries in the Spring Game to a team leader by the time he left the program.

Domonique Thomas earned the respect of Tiger Nation after transferring to Clemson as a walk-on.

Clemson carried four walk-ons in 2023 who are all eligible to return in 2024: Peyton Streko, Tristan Rigby, Kevin McNeal, and Wise Segars.

The walk-on that caught everyone’s attention early in the season was Rigby. He got two carries against Charleston Southern and rumbled for 41 yards. Not bad when a walk-on can claim a 20.5 yards per rush average for the season.

Streko was a preferred walk-on in the Class of 2023 and will likely see action in the Spring Game as well.

There isn’t a walk-on right now that I can foresee breaking into the depth chart for 2024, but as I said, there might be one who gets reps ahead of Eziomume in spring ball just to make the point that he will have to prove he is better than the next guy if he wants a spot in the rotation for 2024.