After combining for 541 yards and averaging nearly 9 yards per carry between them through the first four weeks of the season, Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster have separated themselves at running back for second-ranked Clemson.
Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said on Monday that Feaster and Etienne have earned more opportunities moving forward.
“I think Tavien Feaster and Travis have both elevated themselves a little bit above the rest, and I think as we go forward, those guys will get more opportunities,” Scott said. “It’s going to be fun to watch.”
Etienne, a true freshman, has led Clemson in rushing in three of the Tigers’ four games this season and leads the team with 292 yards on the season. The Auburn game on Sept. 9 is the only game thus far that Etienne did not lead Clemson in rushing, and he did not play. He ranks fourth in the ACC in rushing yards per game (97.3) and seventh in rushing touchdowns (4) despite only having 23 carries.
On Saturday in Clemson’s 34-7 win over Boston College, Etienne rushed nine times for 113 yards and two touchdowns, including a 50-yard touchdown burst with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter that gave the Tigers a 21-7 lead.
The Jennings, La., native has recorded a run of at least 50 yards in each of the games he’s played in. He had a season-long 81-yard run late in the game against Louisville on Sept. 16.
“I think going into the season, we knew we had two or three experienced guys, and then you had Travis who was a talented guy that really had to grow and develop and had to kind of see how that goes,” Scott said. “Now after four games, I think Travis has definitely earned his stripes.”
Feaster, meanwhile, leads Clemson’s running backs in carries with 39. The sophomore has rushed for 249 yards and a touchdown while averaging 6.4 yards per tote.
The native of Spartanburg, S.C., started his first career game against Boston College, rushing for 73 yards on a game-high 20 attempts.
“I thought Tavien did a really good job in his first start and had some nice runs in there,” Scott said. “He ran the ball hard.
“But there’s no doubt Travis and Tavien haven taken the next step and are going to get more opportunities. It will be fun to watch.”
Junior running back Adam Choice is Clemson’s fourth-leading rusher behind Etienne, Feaster and quarterback Kelly Bryant, respectively. He has 110 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Fellow junior C.J. Fuller has 106 yards and two touchdowns on 22 attempts.
“I feel like we have a really good situation at running back,” Scott said. “I feel like we have four guys that have the knowledge and ability to be a starter, and there’s no doubt C.J. Fuller has done a good job for us. We’ve won a lot of games with him in the past. Unfortunately he put the ball on the ground, something he’ll have to work on and get corrected. Adam Choice is a guy that’s been coming back from injury. It’s good to see him have a nice touchdown run.
“There’s not one guy in that group that is best in every area. I think each guy has their strengths, so we’re going to need all four of those guys as the season goes.”