What Are We Hearing About Travis Etienne?

Zach Lentz

In what may be the biggest surprise of the post-national championship NFL Draft announcements, the Clemson Tigers may be poised to make the biggest splash since the 2018 season.

In 2018, the Power Rangers, also known as Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins and Austin Bryant decided to forego the NFL Draft for another shot at a national championship after the Tigers fell to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. At the time, it was the biggest recruiting haul for a program in recent memory, and the only time in Clemson history that fans had been as excited about a player returning was when C.J. Spiller announced his intention to return to the Tigers in 2009.

According to sources close to Etienne, he is truly torn between leaving the Tiger program and making the leap to the NFL.

One thing that has Etienne possibly returning is an already deep running back pool for the 2020 class.

He is currently the fifth ranked running back in the current class. However, if he chose to return to school, there is a strong possibility that he could join quarterback Trevor Lawrence as the No. 1 ranked player at his respective position — a move that could net Etienne in excess of $20 million.

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Monday, January 20.

On a five-yard carry in the first quarter of the national championship, Etienne (4,038) broke Raymond Priester’s Clemson record for career rushing yards (3,966). The record-breaking run set up a one-yard touchdown run by Trevor Lawrence on the following play.

With 78 yards in the game, Etienne (4,038) became the first 4,000-yard career rusher in Clemson history. He joined NC State's Ted Brown, Florida State's Dalvin Cook, North Carolina's Amos Lawrence, Maryland's LaMont Jordan, Louisville's Lamar Jackson, Georgia Tech's Robert Lavette, Wake Forest's Chris Barclay and Boston College's AJ Dillon to become only the ninth 4,000-yard rusher in ACC history.

With 144 all-purpose yards in the game, Etienne (5,122) joined C.J. Spiller and Sammy Watkins as the only players in school history to produce 5,000 career all-purpose yards.

On a three-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Etienne rushed for a touchdown in a ninth straight game to tie the school record shared by Lester Brown (1978), Terry Allen (1988-89) and James Davis (2005-06).