Will Shipley and Phil Mafah have been big contributors to Clemson Football over the past few seasons. Against Kentucky in the Gator Bowl, Mafah had four touchdowns and 71 yards on 11 carries. Shipley 94 yards on two kickoff returns, including a 60-yard return late in the game that was critical for the Tigers’ victory.
Shipley was injured at the end of that kick return. The early prognosis is good – he will not require surgery – but some questions remain.
Shipley stated in December that he would decide between returning to Clemson for the 2024 season or declaring for the NFL Draft after the Gator Bowl was over. We don’t know how this injury could impact his ability to prepare for combines and pro days.
Additionally, Mafah said that he hasn’t decided on his future either. We are waiting for both running backs to give us an indication of what they are thinking.
A Clemson Football Class of 2024 signee might have given us a spoiler.
Hevin Brown-Shuler is a defensive tackle prospect from Pace Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. He will be playing in the All-American Bowl on January 6th.
Brown-Shuler gave an interview while at the bowl practices and commented on some of his incoming classmates, including David Eziomume, a running back who had a fantastic senior high school season.
Brown-Shuler shared this perspective:
""From a defensive standpoint, I think Sammy Brown will make the biggest difference for sure. Sammy Brown and Tavoy Feagin, and Champ Thompson. Offensively, Christian Bentancur, TJ Moore, and Bryant Wesco. And David Eziomume, because Will Shipley is leaving. So Eziomume will be under Phil Mafah, a great running back, so it will be great for David to learn from him.""- Hevin Brown-Shuler
Wow. If Brown-Shuler’s understanding is correct, then Will Shipley plans to leave for the NFL, and Phil Mafah will be the feature back for Clemson Football in 2024.
We don’t know how reliable this information is. Brown-Shuler could have formed an opinion based on his observations and what he was hearing from others around the program. We don’t know that he has firm information about either Shipley’s or Mafah’s plans. He might have been jumping to conclusions.
It is also possible that Brown-Shuler has been briefed on what the internal plans are for the Tigers in 2024, and might have mistakenly given away a spoiler that the team, Shipley, and/or Mafah wasn’t quite ready to make public yet.
We will have to stand by until we get official word from Shipley and/or Mafah on their 2024 plans, but if what Brown-Shuler is correct, we have some insight on what to expect for the depth chart at running back in 2024.