Swinney says Bowman is as advertised, explains Etienne's slimmer profile


by - Senior Writer -
Bowman has impressed during the first few days of camp. (Photo courtesy of CU Athletics)
Bowman has impressed during the first few days of camp. (Photo courtesy of CU Athletics)

CLEMSON – Clemson’s talented group of running backs have caught head coach Dabo Swinney’s eye during the first few days of camp, including two players at opposite ends of their collegiate careers in veteran Travis Etienne and 5-star freshman Demarkcus Bowman.

Etienne was listed at 210 pounds during the spring and might have played a little heavier than that last season, but checked in at 199 pounds during this week’s weigh-in. I asked Swinney about the weight loss and he listed a few reasons for Etienne’s slimmer physique.

"Well I just think that was one of his goals to lean up a little bit, and then some of it, too, is a reflection of not being able to do some of the things that you do in a weight room over the summer. The amount of power cleans and those things," Swinney said. "But one of his goals was to get a leaner. He looked unbelievable today. I was over there with the running backs doing the drill work, and he's fast, explosive and knowledgable. He's in a good place and I like where he's at. He'll probably play somewhere between where he is now and five or six more pounds."

Of course, Etienne stands poised to be one of the all-time greats. He enters 2020 as the Clemson and ACC career leader in rushing touchdowns (56), total touchdowns (60) and points by a non-kicker (372) and will open the 2020 season as the nation’s active leader in each category plus career rushing yards (4,038). He was the back-to-back ACC Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019 who became the first running back to win the award in consecutive years since Mike Voight in 1975-76.

He is also the only player in school history with multiple 1,500-yard rushing seasons and is one of only 16 Power Five players since 2000 to reach the 1,500-yard mark in multiple seasons, joining AJ Dillon, Ameer Abdullah, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Darren McFadden, Ezekiel Elliott, Jonathan Taylor, Ka’Deem Carey, Kendall Hunter, Lamar Jackson, LaMichael James, Melvin Gordon, Montee Ball, Ray Rice and Steven Jackson. He set single-season school records in 2018 in rushing yards (1,658), yards per carry (8.1), rushing touchdowns (24), total touchdowns (26) and points scored (156).

One player who has the potential to challenge some of those numbers is Bowman. He was a unanimous 5-star prospect who rushed for 5,081 yards in three years, including an 11.4-yard per-carry average and 71 touchdowns during his career. Bowman posted 26 games with at least 100 yards in high school and averaged 145 yards rushing in his 35 career games.

Swinney has previously compared Bowman to CJ Spiller, and the freshman hasn’t disappointed in early returns.

"He didn't get slow between May and now, that's for sure," Swinney said. "He looks great. He's thicker than I thought he might be at this point. He's worked really, really hard. The weight room has been really good for him. He worked really hard before he got here. He spent a lot of time on the track on his own, too.

"He's as advertised. He is a fast, fast dude. Can't wait to see how he picks things up when the pads come on."

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