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CBS Sports Names Clemson’s Key Player for the 2024 College Football Season

Clemson is covered at starting running back for the 2024 season.

While they have lost a star in their backfield in Will Shipley, who is heading to the NFL, another star remains. Phil Mafah is one of the best backs in the country and has a lot of potential heading into the upcoming season. According to CBS Sports, he is the Tigers’ key player for the season. 

Mafah certainly isn’t a one-to-one comparison to departing running back Will Shipley. Clemson will likely need a committee to replace Shipley, who impacted the game out of the backfield, as a kick returner and as a receiver. He was singlehandedly Clemson’s most dynamic offensive option, and he’ll be sorely missed. But with issues all over the offense, Mafah should emerge as a steady hand. He hasn’t missed a game in two years and got plenty of run last season while Shipley dealt with injuries, rushing for 965 yards and 13 touchdowns.

In 2023, Mafah stepped up in a big way, recording career highs in rushing attempts (179), rushing yards (965), rushing touchdowns (13), receptions (21), and receiving yards (108) in 506 snaps over 13 games (five starts). Mafah didn’t get a full workload until Clemson’s loss against NC State, but that’s when we really saw the breakout.

Over the season’s final six games, Mafah ran for 610 yards and nine touchdowns. When given the reins, Mafah became a force for this offense. His true breakout came in Clemson’s 31-23 upset win over Notre Dame, during which he took 36 carries for 186 yards and two touchdowns. A true workhorse performance.

If Clemson’s offense wants to return to its former glory, Mafah will have to play at an elite level.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire