Travis Etienne: Louisiana speedster ready to get to work in Clemson's offense
|Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 2:06 PM- -|
Travis Etienne was the lone running back in the 2017 recruiting cycle, and he finally hits campus later this week when he moves in and starts classes. He’s coming in ready to get to work.
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 the 4-star out of Jennings (LA) that he wanted to play for the Tigers.
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.
Gallman and quarterback Deshaun Watson were the Tigers' top two rushers last season, combining for 1,762 yards and 26 touchdowns, but both declared for April's NFL draft.
As a result of Gallman's departure, Clemson's top returning running back is Fuller. The sophomore had just 89 carries in his first two seasons with the program, so there could be an open competition for the starting job in 2017.
“I am very excited. I am also a little anxious and a little scared, being away from my parents and things like that,” he told TigerNet this week. “I am really looking forward to just getting to meet the other freshmen, the other players and getting to know everybody. The coaches have told me to be ready to work. Nothing is given to you. You have to be ready to earn everything.”
However, he isn’t focusing on playing time – he wants to get adjusted first.
“I don't even worry about that. I am just worried about getting there and getting used to the offense,” he said.
Etienne has the size (5-11, 207) and speed to fit in perfectly with the Clemson offense.
“I think I can bring a positive vibe to the offense. People see me as a Melvin Gordon type of back, I pride myself on being balanced back and being able to run outside and inside,” he said. “I like to say that I model my game after Adrian Peterson. That's someone I really look up to. 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 had national offers from Arkansas, Alabama, Iowa State, Kansas, Louisiana-Lafayette, LSU, 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 hears from running backs coach Tony Elliott, who tells him he has to come in and work for a spot.
“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.”
Etienne rushed for 2,952 yards and 43 touchdowns as a senior to go with 251 receiving yards and three receiving scores.