There is no denying the talent that Phil Mafah possesses.
However, sharing the backfield with Will Shipley, Mafah was limited to less than 100 carries during his sophomore season in 2021.
After averaging close to five yards per carry as a sophomore, the former 4-star back admits he contemplated transferring after last season, even if for only very briefly. In the end, Mafah decided to stay with the Tigers, saying he was never close to leaving, and it’s a decision he feels very comfortable having made.
“Not that close,” Mafah said. “I was in the process of thinking about it. That was the discussion. But I always knew what I really wanted. That’s to be here.”
“This is where I want to be, it’s originally where I wanted to be. Couldn’t have been anywhere else. This is the place for me.”
Part of that decision came down to wanting to continue playing with Shipley. The two are roommates and extremely close, and having to split carries has never affected their relationship off the field.
“Him being here was definitely a big part of it,” Mafah said. “Shipley’s my guy, one of my best friends. He encourages me every day and I do the same for him.”
Clemson introducing a brand new offense under Garrett Riley also has Mafah excited about his role going into his junior season. Riley has shown he can get creative when it comes to getting his running backs the ball, and Mafah is confident there will be enough opportunities for everyone.
“We’ve got a lot of variations,” he said. “You can have two backs, one of us at receiver, one of us in the backfield. So it just keeps the defense guessing. We’ve got so many other guys on the field that can make plays. So anyone can get the ball and it be just as lethal.”
Mafah also loves the tempo of the new offense and the talented running back already has high expectations for the Tigers can do on that side of the ball.
“My favorite part is probably how fast and tempo it is, it’s really quick,” Mafah said. “You get the signal quick, you get lined up quick, so that’s what I really love about this offense.”
“I mean, we got guys on this offense. I don’t think it’ll be too hard to find some mismatches. And that’s all football is, winning your matchups. I love that.”
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