Travis Etienne made it clear on Friday why he was coming back to Clemson for his senior year.
“I look forward to earning my degree from this great university and continuing to fight with my brothers on the team to make you proud during the 2020 season,” the running back wrote on social media.
And though the two-time ACC Player of the Year is coming back to graduate and help lead the Tigers to another national championship, he might as well become the most prolific running back the Atlantic Coast Conference has ever seen. Heck, maybe even the best player the league has ever seen when his career is all said and done.
In his first three seasons, Etienne is averaging 1,346 rushing yards per year. If he matches his season average, it would him put him near 5,400 career rushing yards. That would shatter Ted Brown’s all-time record of 4,602 yards which he set at NC State from 1975-’78.
Etienne already owns just about every Clemson rushing record in the book. The 5-10, 210-pound running back is just 565 yards shy of breaking the ACC’s all-time rushing record and 795 yards short of becoming the all-time leader in yards from scrimmage.
He already holds ACC records for total touchdowns in a single season and a career, as well as rushing touchdowns in a career.
One ACC record that is also in reach, which no one thought could ever be touched, is C.J. Spiller’s All-Purpose Yardage record. The former Clemson running back totaled 7,588 all-purpose yards from 2006-’09.
In his three years to this point, Etienne has totaled 5,122 all-purpose yards. This past season he totaled 2,174 yards overall, so if he matched his 2019 performance, he would come within 292 yards of Spiller’s record. So, it’s very possible to imagine Etienne can catch Spiller, especially if he continues to improve as a pass catcher and become more of a weapon in the return game.
This past year, Etienne had a career-high 432 receiving yards out of the backfield on 37 receptions. Also, as a freshman, he had 389 return yards. If he just equals those marks and runs the football like he has done the last two seasons—averaged 1,636 yards—he will be within nine yards of Spiller’s all-purpose record.
Etienne’s Clemson & ACC records
- 4,038 rushing yards, Clemson record
- 62 total touchdowns, Clemson & ACC record
- 56 rushing touchdowns, Clemson & ACC Record
- 1,658 rushing yards (2018), Clemson single season record
- 24 rushing touchdowns (2018), Clemson single season record
- 26 total touchdowns (2018), Clemson and ties ACC single-season record
- 8.1 yards per carry (2018), highest per carry average in ACC history
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