Travis Padgett Turns Professional in Track & Field
Clemson, SC - Clemson track sensation Travis Padgett has decided to forego his final year of eligibility and join the professional ranks. He recently signed a contract with Adidas and will begin running as a professional this week in Europe. He concluded his collegiate career as one of the most decorated sprinters in the history of Clemson and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to wear the Clemson track uniform," Padgett said. "I want to thank Clemson University and the athletic department for being so supportive in helping me to achieve my goals inside the classroom and on the track. I've had nothing but great experiences at Clemson. The coaching staff, my teammates, and the people in general have given me a lifetime full of great memories. I also believe that my future as a professional athlete is very bright. I'm still young and I believe that I have the potential to be the world's fastest man."
The Shelby, NC native is coming off his first appearance in the Olympic Games. He ran a stellar second leg for Team USA's 4x100m relay in the preliminary round, but a dropped baton on the last exchange between Darvis Patton and Tyson Gay cost the group a shot at a medal. Padgett made his way onto the roster after opening eyes with an NCAA-record time of 9.89 in the quarterfinals of the 100m dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer. Padgett finished fourth at the Trials, just one spot shy of earning a berth in the 100m dash at the Olympics.
Padgett spent three successful years with the Tiger track & field program. He was a six-time NCAA All-American, which includes his national championship performance in the 60m dash as a sophomore. Padgett earned three consecutive All-America honors in the 100m dash, including the 2008 season when he was runner-up to eventual Olympic silver medalist Richard Thompson of LSU.
His career took off with little fanfare following his freshman indoor season, where his top honor was finishing runner-up in the 60m dash at the ACC Championships. He quickly turned heads during the 2006 outdoor season, where he put together an impressive streak of wins in the 100m dash as he won titles at the ACC Championships, Penn Relays, and NCAA East Regional. He ran what was then a school record time of 10 seconds flat and defeated defending champion Walter Dix of Florida State. Padgett was fourth in the 100m dash at the NCAA meet as a freshman.
As a sophomore, Padgett followed up his success by winning the national championship in the 60m dash. He put together a time of 6.56 to hold off teammate Jacoby Ford, Demi Omole of Wisconsin, and Dix. Padgett went on to win another ACC championship in the 100m dash outdoors, before earning All-America honors with a third-place finish in the event at nationals. He also earned All-America status after leading the 4x100m relay team to a seventh-place finish.
Padgett put together an impressive junior season in which he was named the ACC's Most Valuable Track performer both indoor and outdoor. He won ACC titles in the 60m, 100m, and 4x100m relay. He earned his second career crown in the 100m dash at the East Region Championships in Tallahassee, FL. Padgett was named Southeast Region Track Athlete-of-the-Year by the coaches' association following outdoor season. He capped his brilliant career with a NCAA runner-up finish in the 100m dash in June.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for Travis to continue to pursue a track & field career at a higher level," said Lawrence Johnson, Clemson's recently appointed Director of Track & Field. "He competed with the best athletes in the world and had a great showing at the Olympic Games. I'm sure all the Clemson fans and alumni are very proud of him. This opportunity will put him in a better financial situation to pursue his dreams. We wish him all the best."