#STRecruiting: After missing on top target, #Clemson now focused on next running back priority

Andrew Paul

Clemson had hoped to land RB Trevor Etienne of Jennings, LA Saturday when he made his college decision public just prior to the kickoff of the All-American Game in San Antonio. But the brother of the Tigers’ all-time leading rusher, Travis Etienne, announced for Florida over Clemson and LSU. So, it’s on to the next for Dabo Swinney and running backs coach CJ Spiller, and he is Andrew Paul (5-11 220) of Dallas, TX.

Spiller offered Paul last week after reading the tea leaves and determining Etienne was not coming his way. The Tigers join the likes of Notre Dame, Michigan, Auburn and Michigan State among the 22 offers for Paul.

“It was a long process. I thank him (Spiller) for that,” Paul said. “It’s a level of trust I have with him. The first thing I noticed is that he came to my game. That showed me he has interest. He stayed for my whole game. And we’ve grown recently since we been talking more. And I like his faith in God, and he won’t pressure me into making a decision. He understands that being a back himself. He is definitely relatable.”

Paul has yet to see Clemson in person or to meet Dabo Swinney and the staff in person. But Spiller has given him details of the inner workings of the program and likes what he’s been told.

“I would say it’s the fact that you can tell the whole family is the most important thing there,” he said. “I talked to Coach Swinney a little bit. I could tell he cherishes his family and family matters. That is really important to me.”

Pau took an official visit to Colorado in December and will visit Michigan this coming weekend. The next weekend it’s off to Clemson, and he’s anxious to experience everything he’s heard about the place.

“I definitely want to be welcomed and find out the type of atmosphere they have at Clemson,” he said. “I want to find out first-hand what it’s like to be a Clemson Tiger. They are up there. I don’t have a number one. I plan on going on these visits and weighing my options, and by the end of the month hope to know where I am going.”

Paul helped lead his school to a TAPPS Division-1 Championship. In the Panthers’ final three playoff games this year, Paul averaged 368.3 rushing yards and 5.3 touchdowns per game. For the season, Paul rushed for 2,616 yards and scored 44 touchdowns. He earned first-team all-state honors and was named his district’s Most Valuable Player.

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