When someone is deemed important, they’re considered significant to the overall success of the company, family or team.
To succeed in team sports it takes a group of players to come together for a common goal. The goal for every team is to ultimately win a championship. At first it is a region, division or conference championship and if things progress it can be a state championship, national championship or even a Super Bowl.
To win these championships there are certain players that are considered important to the overall success of the team. In this series, The Clemson Insider takes a look at the 10 players we feel are important to the Tigers’ chances of winning a second national title in three years.
No. 4 Travis Etienne
When Travis Etienne got to camp last summer, he was a runner, something he displayed quite often in Clemson’s run to a third straight ACC Championship.
A freshman at the time, Etienne burst onto the scene when he had 98 yards on just six carries against Louisville in Week 3, including an 81-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He also had a 50-yard run coming off his own goal line the two weeks before against Kent State.
Against Boston College, he rushed for 113 yards and scored two touchdowns, including a 50-yard touchdown that broke the game open. In all, Etienne had four carries in 2017 of 50-yards or more, the most by a Clemson running back in one season since C.J. Spiller in 2009.
There is no doubt the Jennings, La., native can run the football and his big-play ability is important to Clemson’s chances of getting back to the College Football Playoff. However, Etienne wants to be more than a running back.
“This spring has really been helpful to me just getting a clear understanding of what is going on,” Etienne said. “Just being able to have the experience from last season and this spring to learn from is huge. I am able to evaluate myself through practice and just knowing what I am doing now is really helpful.”
Etienne said having spring practice helped him in so many ways. As a running back, he learned what the schemes were and why it is so important. He learned how to press the line and he learned how to read a defense better.
“I know where to hit (the hole), when to hit it and when I need to be patient,” he said.
In pass protection, Etienne had to work on his communication more than anything. He had to learn how to fit and how to communicate with the offensive linemen. He says he has a better sense of what they are doing so he knows what he is supposed to do when he sees a certain look.
“I used to think everything was going to be given to me and now I really take advantage of every rep that I am given,” he said. “I give every rep all that I’ve got now and I definitely learned from that. I give each play one-hundred percent.”
Clemson’s 10 Most Important Players for 2018
Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders. TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship. Order your copy today!