Jaguars running back Travis Etienne is seemingly ready to do one thing in Jacksonville. The very thing he did time and time again at Clemson. The thing that the Jaguars prioritized when they drafted him No. 25 overall in April's draft.
Make big plays.
"I just can't wait to provide big plays for Duval Nation," Etienne said in a video released this week with Panini America to promote Etienne's rookie trading cards.
Etienne rushed for 4,952 yards and 70 touchdowns on 686 career carries in four seasons at Clemson, setting numerous ACC records and rewriting the Clemson record books. To go with his historic rushing numbers, Etienne also caught 102 passes for 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns.
Now, Etienne is one of hundreds of NFL rookies adjusting to their new homes after a whirlwind draft process. Drafted by the Jaguars to pair with No. 1 overall pick and former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Etienne is set to be one of the newest and most electric playmakers on a Jaguars' offense that badly needs to find the end zone more than they did the year before.
“I feel like my first game is going to be very nerve-racking and I’ll be filled with so many emotions,” Etienne said. “Nerves will be all over the place but I feel like after the ball is kicked off, I get my first hit, and first tackle when they hit me one time, I will be great.”
Etienne and Lawrence did nothing but win games at Clemson. The two played for one of college football's most dominant programs, with Clemson averaging 12.75 wins a year during Etienne's four seasons and appearing in either the College Football Playoff or the National Championship in each year of both Etienne's and Lawrence's tenures.
Etienne and Lawrence will now be two of the most important pieces of the puzzle as the Jaguars attempt to go from the NFL's worst team to a consistent winner, just as Clemson has been the last few years.
"It's been awesome having Travis here," Lawrence said in the Panini America video.
"Obviously we have known each other for three years now, and being able to hang out, you know, outside of here but also just have a guy in the building that I have played with for the past three years, it just, you know, adds a little bit of comfort coming somewhere new and we are just really excited to do something great in Jacksonville."
While having Etienne in tow will make Lawrence's job easier, Etienne knows he has a long way to go in his own development. While Etienne is one of the most experienced and productive running backs to be drafted in the last several seasons, his rookie year will be one of adjustment due to the role the Jaguars have envisioned for him.
Ultimately, Etienne will make plays both through the air and on the ground as the Jaguars use them as their "slash" player, a role that head coach Urban Meyer has said is a mix of wide receiver and running back. A role Etienne has never played but is now expected to excel at.
Most of Etienne's work as a receiver at Clemson was strictly out of the backfield. Now, Etienne is having to learn the details of winning both from behind the line of scrimmage and when lined out wide. Essentially, Etienne said, he is "learning the playbook at two positions."
"So now I am just like kind of learning real receiver routes and having Trev here to go just do simple things as run routes outside and just kind of go over it by ourselves, [it] has really been great for me and really helped me just speed up that process," Etienne said.
While Etienne's adjustment to playing multiple positions will likely take some time, the Jaguars believe in his talent and athleticism. He made plays on a consistent basis at Clemson and the expectation is for that to carry over as he and Lawrence help one another make the leap to the NFL.
Etienne will be doing so with a new look, however. After wearing No. 9 at Clemson, Etienne took advantage of the NFL's new relaxed rules on skill players wearing single-digit uniforms, deciding on the sleek No. 1 jersey.
Etienne opting to wear No. 1 immediately made him a fan-favorite in Jacksonville, but he revealed this week that it wasn't exactly a choice he was all-in on. But now that he has seen it in person and in action, he is confident in becoming the first Jaguars' running back to wear No. 1.
"Number one was a great choice. At first, I really wasn't sold on it. But now looking at it in my official uniform. I made a great decision."