Travis Etienne named nation's top running back by PFF


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Travis Etienne named nation's top running back by PFF

The Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top running back, will be handed out tonight in Atlanta. Clemson's Travis Etienne will not receive it.

He wasn't even a finalist, which drew the ire of Dabo Swinney among more people.

If it was up to Pro Football Focus, however, Travis Etienne would not only be a finalist but also the winner.

"Etienne set the record from us at PFF with the highest percentage of missed tackles forced per carry by breaking a tackle on 46% of his attempts in 2019," PFF's Cam Mellor said. "He totaled 84 missed tackles forced on just 181 carries, ranking first among running backs in total missed tackles forced on the ground but just 45th in total attempts this season. He churned out a first down or a touchdown on his carries 37% of the time while he broke off first contact just the same, earning 973 of his 1,492 total rushing yards after contact."

He heads into the postseason leading the nation in yards per carry (8.2).

Etienne broke an ACC career record this season for both rushing touchdowns (54) and total touchdowns (57).

He picked up USA TODAY first-team running back honors this week, as well as Isaiah Simmons at linebacker. Tee Higgins earned second-team honors.

Simmons, the Butkus Award winner, would be PFF's pick for the Hornung Award too (which was another one the Clemson player wasn't a finalist for).

"The most versatile player award oftentimes drums up the notion of an offensive player who gets the ball into their hands in more ways than one. When you watch Simmons play, you realize he’s that and then some, but on the defensive side of the ball," Mellor said. "For the year, he logged 808 total defensive snaps, with 104 coming from the defensive line, 203 coming as a box linebacker, 230 coming from a slot cornerback alignment, 106 as a free safety, six snaps as a wide cornerback and another 159 snaps on a variety of special teams’ units. Simmons played all of those positions at an extremely high level, finishing with elite grades in run defense, tackling and overall."

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