RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL): Jennings, LA (Jennings)
247 RATING: .9171
POSITION RANK: 1
Rushing: 518 rushes, 4,038 yards (7.8 ypc), 56 touchdowns
Receiving: 54 catches, 567 yards (10.5 ypc), 6 touchdowns
Rushing: 207 rushes, 1,614 yards (7.8 ypc), 19 touchdowns
Receiving: 37 catches, 432 yards (11.7 ypc), 4 touchdowns
Travis Etienne Breakdown
Travis Etienne surprised the college football community with his decision to return to Clemson for his senior season, sparking various reactions from fans across the country. His return gives the Tigers one of the best running backs in the country, and a guy that’s evolved his game to become a more complete back.
In his first two seasons, Etienne was just a fast back. Teams knew they needed to contain him, but that was about the extent of his game. Last offseason, he added weight to his frame and worked on becoming a runner who can withstand hits without losing speed or getting tackled. Etienne’s contact balance is a result of work in the weight room, and teams now must worry about getting run over as much as they need to worry about him running past them.
The speed hasn’t gone away despite his improvement in his power. Etienne proved that he’s still arguably the fastest running back in the country multiple times last year, and even defenders taking good angles still can’t catch him. Whether he runs inside or outside, his speed is a problem for those trying to tackle him and, once he’s in the open field, he accelerates quicker than anyone else. Good luck catching him after that.
Dabo Swinney said Etienne received a second round grade, and that most likely factored into his running back’s decision to return. That gives him another year to work on his weaknesses. Right now, Etienne is a decent pass catcher, but mostly fights the ball when trying to reel it in. His pass protection isn’t great either, as he doesn’t have the base currently to take on a pass rusher. You can bet he’ll work on those this offseason. As if teams didn’t have enough to worry about, becoming a better pass catcher and blocker would vault him into a first round grade, and give the Tigers a back that’s virtually unstoppable.