NFL DRAFT CLASS OF 2021 INTERVIEW: TRAVIS ETIENNE | CLEMSON | RUNNING BACK

Interview with Clemson running back Travis Etienne
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What are your thoughts on today, and what are some notable memories from the last four years? I'm definitely going to remember my time in the locker room, my brothers. Just being here in the facility. You don't realize how much you miss it until you're back here, realize that you're not going to be here anymore. The memories that I made here will last a lifetime. Definitely going to miss that the most.

Running backs you watched the most growing up? First guy I really watched was Cam Newton. Basically he was a running back at Auburn, how he did it. Micah Dyer, that was a really great tandem. Watched Michael Dyer kill guys at Auburn. I started watching football when I started getting recruited and I realized I could have a future in this.

Why'd you say the Cardinals are a dream destination? I just thought it would be a great scenario. They just got JJ Watt, so I'd add another piece to the offense. I've seen Kenyan Drake, know it's his contract year. I feel like I could go there and be a great asset to the team. I'd be happy if it happens and happy if it doesn't.

What do you offer off the field? I'm a guy you don't have to worry about. No distractions. No added things off the field. You get a consistent guy, a great guy who's going to work hard on and off the field, not going to create any trouble for the team. No negative media to the team. You get a great guy who's going to work hard and not provide distractions to the team.

Have you received any advice from Isaiah Simmons or Clyde Helaire-Edwards? Right now, they just told me to enjoy the process. Don't take anything for granted. Take it day by day. Hone into my craft and take advantage of each and every opportunity that I have.

How did Trevor Lawrence help you? Just Trevor being Trevor. Him being himself helped me be myself. Just the way he carries himself -- cool, calm, collected. It trickles down to everybody else. When you see a quarterback have everything under control, he's not in his head space, has a clear mind. It allows everyone else around him to play free.

What is one thing Dabo Swinney taught you? Just never take anything for granted. Each year, you have to start over. You're not entitled to anything. Anything you get, you have to earn. Just the work ethic that he instilled in us will last a lifetime.

Who is the toughest defender you faced in 2020? I'd have to think back to the Notre Dame game, No. 6 [Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah]. He really stood out. Great player, all over the field, making plays. He's there each and every play. I feel like he really stood out. He was a great player.

Who is a guy coming back for Clemson that will emerge in the next year? Hard question, because I feel like we have a lot of guys here that are ready to pop. Kobe Pace. He's a great running back. Him and Lyn-J, that running back group. Any one of those guys, I don't feel like they get enough coverage. The whole running back group, they really have their opportunity. Whoever takes advantage of their reps in practice, that's going to translate to the game.

Why are you worthy of a first-round pick? I'm one of the best skill guys in the draft. I'm able to do it all. I feel like [I can take] teams to the next tier. I possess a lot of things that are god-given that a lot of guys don't possess. I feel like it's in me, I'm able to be out there three downs. Being able to impact the team each and every down is different and makes me worthy of the first round.

How have you developed as a pass catcher? Coming here out of high school from a wing T, I probably had 16 targets my whole career in high school. Coming here, it was really different. Had to really change my whole game. Each and every coach here has been fundamental to my growth, even the players. I'd like to credit Amari Rodgers. But yes, Coach Scott, in my early years, really helped me.

Was coming back the right decision? Yessir, I still feel that way. I feel that way even more. I wanted to be a great role model to my little brother and the kids back in Louisiana. Not everyone has a shot at being in the NFL. I wanted to be a token to those kids who won't have that shot. I still want them to go out, strive, get a college degree, graduate, because their careers are going to last them a lifetime. Football will be over in a couple of years. I'll still be young.

Was it a big deal to go from 199 pounds to 215? It was a big deal, a big priority. It was huge. 199 in the league, at the running back position you really won't be able to play that for long. I wanted to get my body right but get it the right way. It helped going to Weston, HOA, working Monday through Saturday, speed training in the morning, lifting in the afternoon. Been doing that Monday through Saturday since early January has really gotten me to this point.

QB | RB | FB | WR | iWR | TE | LT | RT | OG | OC | DT | NG | 3-4 DE | 4-3 DE | 3-4 OLB | 4-3 OLB | ILB | CB | iCB | FS | SS

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