One of the more unappreciated players in college football is Clemson running back Travis Etienne.
While everyone has talked about Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Fields, Etienne’s body of work has been overlooked by many on the national scale.
The junior has once again dominated the ACC, especially in the last six weeks. Since Oct. 12, when No. 3 Clemson beat Florida State 45-14 at Memorial Stadium, Etienne has run for 100 or more yards in all six games, a Clemson record for consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
The 2018 ACC Player of the Year rushed for 873 yards and 9 touchdowns in those six games and averaged 10.2 yards per carry. In a win over Wofford on Nov. 2, Etienne ran for 212 yards on nine carries, an average of 23.6 yards per carry.
The Wofford game also marked the third time in his career he topped 200 rushing yards in a game, the first Clemson running back to ever accomplish such a feat.
During ABC’s broadcast of the Clemson at NC State game on Nov. 9, play-by-play announcer Chris Fowler called Etienne the best running back in the country and it was not even close. He pointed to Etienne’s 50-plus rushing touchdowns in three seasons, while pointing out Etienne accomplished those numbers while playing just two quarters in most games because the Tigers have blown out so many opponents in the last three years.
Overall, Etienne has rushed for 1,335 yards this season, which ranks 6th nationally. He is averaging 121.4 yards per game and 8.7 yards per carry. Among the other top running backs in the country, Etienne has carried the ball just 153 times, 30 less carries than the next closest back … Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins.
Etienne’s 8.7 yards per carry, is almost 2 yards better than the next closet back, again it’s Dobbins at 7.04. Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, who leads the nation with 1,726 yards and 20 touchdowns, is averaging a whole two yards per carry less (6.6) than Etienne’s.
For his career at Clemson, Etienne is averaging 8.1 yards per carry and has 3,759 career yards, which ranks third all-time in Clemson history. He needs 123 yards against South Carolina to pass James Davis for second on the all-time rushing list at Clemson.
He needs just 208 yards to pass Raymond Priester’s record of 3,966 yards. Priester needed four years to set his mark, Etienne is only a junior.
Etienne already holds the career record for rushing touchdowns (51) and total touchdowns (55) at Clemson, and he is just a couple of touchdowns shy of owning both marks in the ACC, too.
It was 10 years ago when the Heisman Trophy voters made a mistake and left C.J. Spiller out of a New York invite, as the former Tiger great finished sixth in the voting.
Hopefully, this year, they will not make the same mistake with Etienne, who last year finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy race.
Etienne should already be a serious Heisman contender and should be a lock to get an invite to New York. The question is do the Heisman voters know enough about him to do it?