As he gets set to start the next chapter of his life and football career in the NFL, Travis Etienne can look back on his career at Clemson and see how entirely different of a player and person he is now compared to when he first stepped foot on campus as a freshman in 2017.
The ACC’s all-time leading rusher feels fully ready to make the jump to the next level – both on the football field and away from it – thanks to the four years he spent as a Tiger.
“Clemson has totally transformed me since I got here from my freshman year, on and off the field,” Etienne said Thursday following his Pro Day workout at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson. “I feel like they really prepared me for this moment in my life and my career, on and off the field.”
Etienne completed one of the most prolific careers in Clemson, ACC and college football history across the 2017-20 seasons, rushing for 4,952 yards with 70 rushing touchdowns to go with 102 receptions for 1,155 yards and eight receiving scores in 55 games.
The Jennings, La., native is the NCAA FBS record-holder for most career games scoring a touchdown (46) and the ACC career record-holder for rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns (78) and points scored (468).
The progression that Etienne – who checked in at 5-foot-10, 215 pounds at Clemson’s Pro Day – made from a physical standpoint as well as an all-around player over the course of his college career is evident to anyone who watched him.
“On the field, it really speaks for itself,” he said. “You’ve just seen my body transition each and every year, and just me continuing to grow and be better each and every year.”
Etienne credits his former running backs coach and current Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, along with Clemson’s staff as a whole, for pushing him to not only become a better player but also a better person.
“I just want to shout out the coaches and staff, just for off the field,” Etienne said. “Coach Elliott really just challenging me to be a better man, and I feel like that goes hand in hand with on the field.”
Reflecting on the day of January 26, 2017, when Etienne committed to Clemson over LSU and declared he would play at “the real Death Valley” — it was, as he has said, the best decision he could have made as an 18-year-old.
“I’m just very grateful that I came here,” he said, “and just trusted in Coach and he gave me the opportunity.”
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