Travis Etienne's transition professionally with the Jacksonville Jaguars has been a load typical rookie running backs don't carry. Still, he has taken the challenge in stride, learning the playbook from two positions while growing fonder of Jacksonville each day.
"Life as a pro has been really great," Etienne said behind the scenes of his Panini America rookie card photoshoot. "I mean, learning the playbook at two different positions has kind of been challenging for me. I've just been playing the running back position for so long, ever since I was a little kid.
"So now, just kind of learning real receiver routes and having Trevor (Lawrence) here to go and just do simple things like run routes outside and just kind of going over it by ourselves has been great. It really helped me just speed up that process."
A small market fanbase embrace can be overwhelming for a rookie. Still, Etienne has had no problem growing accustomed to the rapidly expanding support in North Florida with his former Clemson teammate Lawrence. Both former Tigers won a national championship together, setting dozens of combined records before both being drafted in round one of the NFL Draft on April 29th.
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"Jaguars fans have been really great," Etienne said. "Just really been supportive since I've been here. I mean, it's really cool just to see how many fans they actually have. I just can't wait to provide big plays for Duval nation."
With NFL OTAs finished, pro teams now look to training camp beginning less than a month from now, and despite such national success at Clemson, the nerves are still on for Etienne while he and Lawrence both prepare for their first live professional snaps.
"I feel like my first game is going to be very nerve-wracking in the beginning," Etienne said. " I feel like it's going to be filled with so many emotions—just nerves all over the place.
"But I feel like after the ball's kicked off, after I get my first hit, my first tackle; you hit me one time, I'll be great."