Clemson Has No. 1 Ranked Backfield in 2020

Christopher Hall

As we enter approach the dog days of summer, preseason rankings and watch lists are beginning to fill the airways and press machines. 

Clemson's brand will once again be a popular selection heading into the 2020 season and on Friday, the Tigers were dubbed as having the top backfield in all of college football, per 247Sports.com. 

It makes sense for Clemson to be in the mix with Travis Etienne — the program's all-time leader in rushing yards (4,038) and rushing touchdowns (56) through just three seasons — set to return this fall alongside Trevor Lawrence, who sits fourth in school history in passing yards (6,945) and third in passing touchdowns (66) through just two seasons.

Etienne surprised many earlier this year when he sidestepped an opportunity to leave for the NFL by returning to Clemson for this senior campaign. With a college degree in hand come December and potential No. 1 overall draft pick on the horizon for Lawrence, 2020 will almost certainly be his last season as a Tiger as well. Both will look took repeat the glory of the 2018 season and leave Clemson with another national title. 

247 Sports is among those who are buying into the Tigers once again being a force to be reckoned with as Lawrence and Etienne headlined the top backfield in 2020 rankings. But let's not forget about home-run hitter Lyn-J Dixon as well as newcomer Demarkcus Bowman, a five-star back from the Sunshine State, who could do some damage on the ground this fall.

See 247 Sports' analysis of the Clemson backfield below: 

The Star: Travis Etienne (207 carries, 1,614 yards, 19 touchdowns), The Backup: Lyn-J Dixon (104 carries, 635 yards, 6 touchdowns), The Wild Card: Trevor Lawrence (103 carries, 563 yards, 9 touchdowns), The Second Wild Card: Demarkcus Bowman (true freshman)

Bleacher Report: “Even if Etienne had left for the NFL draft, Clemson would have been in capable hands with Dixon becoming the featured back. In two seasons as the backup, he has averaged 7.1 yards per carry. He also made 14 receptions last year, so he's even a potential menace in passing situations. Not much of a relief for the defense when Etienne leaves the field.”

247Sports: One of the most shocking decisions we saw when it came to returning to school was Etienne’s. The two-time All-ACC threat shocked the world in January when he announced a return to the Tigers, citing unfinished business and a point to prove to his family. As a freshman, Etienne rushed for 766 yards and 13 touchdowns, and he followed that up with a solid sophomore campaign that included 1,659 yards and an FBS-leading 24 touchdowns. He followed that up with 1,614 yards and 19 scores this past season, averaging a nation-leading 7.8 yards per carry. Many believed he deserved a Heisman nod and perhaps that's why he was so intrigued by coming back.

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