Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson Tigers
Size: 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds
Age: 22-years-old (1/26/1999)
Hailing from Jennings, Louisiana, Travis “ETN” was one of the hottest prospects at the position in 2016. A four-star recruit out of Jennings High, the small-town standout received 29 collegiate offers with LSU being one of the most aggressive suitors. The local excitement was as high as the expectation was clear.
In the end, Etienne did commit to the Tigers … but the ones located in South Carolina (not Louisiana).
To say fans were disappointed is putting it mildly. And they’re still salty because Travis has done nothing but dominate since arriving at Clemson in 2017.
From leading the team in rushing as a true freshman to breaking the ACC career rushing record with (4,952 yards) in 2020, Etienne's tenure at Clemson has been nothing short of sensational.
He enters the NFL draft as one of the top-three consensus picks at the position and is expected to come off the board in the second round.
Pros: Burst, balance, evolution as a legit weapon in the receiving game
Cons: Smaller frame could limit his usage in short-yardage and goal-line situations; has a tendency to bounce it outside
The Big Picture
ETN has got that get-off.
A big-play threat whenever the ball is in his hands, the Clemson product has elite acceleration and an uncanny ability to spin and slip through a variety of differently limbed tackles. Recording 16 career touchdowns of 40+ yards, Etienne is undeniably dangerous in space.
But like that friend who is always down for an adventure but doesn’t always have a plan … he can sometimes lack patience and appear jumpy at the line of scrimmage. Rather than waiting for something more advantageous to open up, the electric runner tends to restlessly dart ahead or (more likely) favor the edge. While he’s unlikely to get away with that as frequently in the NFL, he’s also illustrated an ability to improve and evolve his skill set.
Refining his hands and route techniques allowed for his blossoming as a deft and reliable pass-catcher in 2020. Converting 48 of 58 balls for 588 receiving yards (12 games), Etienne averaged 12.3 YPR over his senior campaign.
At the next level, he projects to be a dynamic receiving back whose dynamism regularly amounts to chunk yardage and flash plays.
NFL Comp: Somewhere between Alvin Kamara and Kenyan Drake.
Todd Gurley’s return to Georgia was many things, but explosive was not one of them. Averaging 3.5 YPC and seeing his usage wane down the stretch, it’s clear that the Falcons were dissatisfied with the TG3 experiment of 2020.
The good news is that they’re in the market for a dazzling young back who can catch out of the backfield and further energize the offense.
ETN to the ATL makes perfect sense.
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