Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott like the fact Travis Etienne has progressed so well at the running back position.
The Tigers leading rusher from a year ago will head into fall camp next Friday as the first guy who will work with the first-team offense. However, don’t take Etienne’s advancement up the depth chart to mean he will be the feature back in 2018.
“That is not a focus because we are not going to be a one-back offense,” Swinney said.
Swinney says the only way they will have a feature back is if someone gets hurt.
Last year, Etienne and Tavien Feaster, who started the last 11 games of the season, each carried the football 107 times.
“For us there might some game where (Etienne) might get double digit carries, but we are not going into the game, ‘Oh, we have to get Travis double-digit carries.’ We are going into the game to win a game and I am counting on, when Travis is in there, him playing at a high level. When Feaster is in there, he is playing at a high level and when (Adam) Choice is in there he is playing at a high level.”
Feaster and Choice are listed as co-second team running backs on the depth chart.
Last year, Etienne led all rushers on the team with 766 yards and a freshman record 13 rushing touchdowns. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry. Feaster was second on the team with 669 yards and 7 rushing touchdowns. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry.
Choice was Clemson’s goal-line back, especially late in the season. He scored 6 touchdowns and ran for 326 yards. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry.
“I think the combination of those three guys and the experience they now have and the maturity they have and the skill set that they have, I think is going to allow us to have an incredibly special group of backs,” Swinney said. “So, I don’t see it as one guy. I see it as three really talented players that will have their day. I don’t have any doubt somebody is going to be hot and that is a good thing.”
Lyn-J Dixon, the No. 10 running back in the nation by ESPN and Rivals from the 2018 signing class, will be the Tigers’ fourth scholarship running back when camp begins. The four-star running back rushed for 5,174 yards and 73 touchdowns during his high school career in Butler, Ga.
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