Newest commit and Louisiana RB says Clemson is "a great fit for me"
|Thursday, January 26, 2017, 7:13 PM- -|
Travis Etienne was a relative latecomer to Clemson’s 2017 recruiting push, but it took just one visit to Clemson’s campus and some time with offensive coordinator Tony Elliott to convince Etienne that he wanted to play for the Tigers.
Etienne, a 4-star running back out of Jennings (LA) announced his decision via Twitter on his birthday.
Etienne becomes the 14th commitment for the 2017 recruiting class, but the only running back taken in the class. Clemson loses starter Wayne Gallman and reserve Tyshon Dye transferred after the season, and Etienne will compete with veterans Adam Choice, C.J. Fuller and Tavien Feaster for playing time. He is also the 9th ESPN 300 commitment in the 2017 class for Clemson.
Etienne chose Clemson over hometown favorite LSU after a visit to Clemson last weekend.
“It was just the coaches and the atmosphere when I went there and how everyone treated everyone,” Etienne told TigerNet after the announcement. “I felt like I vibed with the coaches and I felt at home over there.”
Etienne said he fell in love with the campus and Clemson’s new football operations facility.
“It's great. It's not really as small as everyone makes it out to be,” Etienne said of Clemson. “I feel like it will be a great fit for me. It was great. The facility is nice and everything. It was lovely.”
He also spent time getting to know Elliott, the Tigers’ running backs coach and offensive coordinator.
“I've really been talking to Coach (Tony) Elliott. His message to me has been to just do what's best for me and don't worry about the outside noise and what everyone else thinks,” Etienne said.
LSU offered two weeks ago after missing on five-star Cam Akers, and Etienne subsequently announced a final three of Tennessee, Texas A&M and LSU. Clemson commit Cordarrian Richardson announced his de-commitment from the Tigers late last month, and Clemson moved on Etienne.
Elliott told Etienne that playing time depended on how hard he wanted to work.
“He just told me that I have to come in and work hard and the best player will play,” he said. “He said that nothing is guaranteed and I have to come in and play when it's my time. I have to go in there and show them what I have to offer and the best player will play.”
What kind of running back can Tiger fans expect to see?
“I like to say that I model my game after Adrian Peterson. That's someone I really look up to,” Etienne said. “I try to play like Ezekiel Elliott and Trent Richardson when he was at Alabama. I'm a physical guy with speed. I don't mind running in between the tackles and I'll do whatever is best for my team.”
The speedster has national offers from Arkansas, Alabama, Iowa State, Kansas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Memphis, Mississippi State, Missouri, Northwestern State, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi, TCU, Texas-San Antonio, Tulane, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech.
He committed to Texas A&M last June before withdrawing his pledge two months later.
It took just the one visit to convince Etienne that Clemson was home, and leaving Louisiana didn’t play as much of a factor as some might think.
“I knew when I was on my visit. Saturday morning I knew that's where I wanted to be,” he said. “I told the coaches Sunday when I was leaving. They were excited and they asked me if I was sure and was I ready to make the commitment.
“Going away from home and getting that experience played a role in it, but with LSU coming in late, too, it really didn't have a big role in it.”
Etienne rushed for 2,952 yards and 43 touchdowns as a senior to go with 251 receiving yards and three receiving scores.