When Travis Etienne decided last week he was going to return to Clemson for his senior season, he received a lot of slack for his decision.
Most of the negative comments came from national writers, who did not know him, but felt they knew what was best. Some criticized Dabo Swinney, basically accusing the Clemson coach of giving Etienne bad advice.
“That is one of the things Travis and I talked about. You are going to have people voice their opinion on if you leave or if you stay,” said former Clemson running back C.J. Spiller earlier this week on Out of Bounds with Qualk & Kelly on WCCP FM in Clemson.
Spiller was an All-American running back at Clemson, who like Etienne, stunned everyone when he stayed at Clemson for his senior year back in 2009 instead of electing to turn professional. Spiller also heard the negative comments after he made his decision, but he did not listen to any of it and in the end it all worked out.
Spiller became Clemson’s third unanimous All-America in the program’s history. He earned ACC Player of the Year honors, finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy race and was the No. 9 overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.
“You just have to block all of that stuff out,” Spiller said. “The biggest thing is if you are at peace with whatever decision you make, that is the only thing that matters. When you lay your head on your pillow at night, are you at peace?”
When the NFL Draft Advisory Committee sent Spiller a first-round grade at the end of his junior year, everyone was telling him, “You need to leave.”
“Well, I wouldn’t had been at peace when I left because I would have been listening to the crowd,” the former Clemson great said. “I wanted to make decisions based on the information that I had gathered. And I wanted to be peaceful about it. I did not want to put the blame on anyone else and that is kind of the model that I live by.”
It’s the advice he gave Etienne.
With Etienne coming back, Clemson appears to be a lock to make the College Football Playoff for a six-straight season. Individually, the two-time ACC Player of the Year will have a chance to break all the major records by a running back at Clemson and in the ACC.
In his first three seasons, Etienne is averaging 1,346 yards per season. 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 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 the ACC records for total touchdowns in a single season and a career, as well as rushing touchdowns in a career.
Get your official national championship and Fiesta Bowl champs gear right here!