Clemson running back Travis Etienne announced on Friday he is returning to Clemson for his senior season. Etienne made his announcement via Twitter.
It’s not a total surprise Etienne is returning to Clemson. With other top running backs turning pro such as Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, Florida State’s Cam Akers, Boston College’s A.J. Dillon and Utah’s Zack Moss, Etienne would have been in a deep and talented class and there was no guaranteed he would have been a Day 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Etienne, who was named the ACC’s Player of the Year in 2018 and in 2019, became Clemson’s all-time rushing leader on a 5-yard carry in the first quarter against LSU this past Monday, breaking Raymond Priester’s record for career rushing yards (3,966). Etienne has 4,038 career rushing yards. Priester held the record for 22 years at Clemson.
Etienne finished the LSU game with 78 yards, and in the process became the first 4,000-yard career rusher in Clemson history. He joined NC State’s Ted Brown, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, North Carolina’s Amos Lawrence, Maryland’s LaMont Jordan, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Georgia Tech’s Robert Lavette, Wake Forest’s Chris Barclay and Boston College’s A.J. Dillon to become only the ninth 4,000-yard rusher in ACC history.
With Etienne’s return to Clemson, he will have a real good shot to become the ACC’s all-time rushing leader. He needs just 565 yards to break Brown’s all-time mark of 4,602, which he accomplished from 1975-’78 at NC State.
Etienne finished the 2019 season with 1,614 yards, the second-best single season rushing mark in school history. Only his 1,658 yards in 2018 was better.
He also finished the season with 19 rushing touchdowns and four receiving touchdowns. His 23 total touchdowns rank second to his 26 in 2018.
Etienne also set the ACC record for total touchdowns in a career with 62 and the league record for rushing touchdowns with 56. His biggest improvement came in the passing game where he stepped up his performance as a pass blocker, while his 37 receptions ranked third on the team, as did his 432 yards. He averaged 11.7 yards per catch.
Etienne is the first Clemson player to win ACC Player of the Year honors in back-to-back seasons since former quarterback Steve Fuller did it in 1977 and 1978. They are the only two Clemson players to win the award in back-to-back seasons.
Etienne was also a second-team All-American selection in 2018 and 2019.
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