If Dabo Swinney was an NFL coach, he said there would be no doubt who his No. 1 choice would be if he needed a running back … Clemson running back Travis Etienne.
“He would be my guy,” Swinney said.
Luckily for the Tigers, Swinney is not coaching in the NFL and Etienne is not eligible for April’s 2020 Draft. The Clemson running back decided to return to Clemson for his senior year last month, pulling his name from consideration.
That means the Tigers get the school’s all-time leading rusher for another season. Etienne has already rushed for 4,038 yards in his career and he is in reach of breaking just about every ACC record for a running back. He already owns the conference record for career rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns.
In last week’s press conference with the media, following national signing day, Swinney indicated, despite all of his success, Etienne received a second-round grade from the NFL’s Draft Advisory Board. The Jennings, Louisiana native had a very specific list of things he needed to get better at in order to move up to first-round status before next year’s draft.
“It is pretty nitpicky if you ask me… I know there are other great running backs out there, but he is pretty special. We have talked about those things,” Swinney said. “I am not going to get into all the things that were reported because it is pretty detailed. But from a big picture standpoint, he just needs to continue to be consistent and continue to be a complete player in every aspect of that.
“I think he has done that, now he just has to stay the course.”
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 ACC 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.
Clemson begins spring practice on Feb. 26.
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