Name: Travis Etienne
Position: Running Back
NFL Grade: 6.71 (Year 1 quality starter)
Stats: Playing all four years at Clemson has lent itself to some insane stats for Etienne as a Tiger. From 2017 to 2020, Etienne rushed 686 times for 4,952 yards with 70 rushing touchdowns and caught 102 passes for 1,155 and eight receiving touchdowns in 55 games with 42 starts. During his time at Clemson, Etienne saw the Tigers win four ACC Championships, earn a College Football Playoff Berth four times and capture a national title in two championship game appearances.
Etienne himself now holds the FBS record for most career games with a touchdown, scoring in 46 of his 55 games in the purple and orange. He has an incredible career 7.22 yards per carry average, which is a Clemson school record. Etienne was a consensus All-American after a 2020 season where he rushed for 956 yards and 14 touchdowns in 12 games. He added 588 receiving yards on 48 catches along with another pair of receiving touchdowns, bringing his scoring total to 16 on the season. Etienne's best game of the year came against the University of Miami where he rushed 17 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
Etienne surpassed 1,600 yards in each of his prior two seasons at Clemson and in 2018, he scored a career-high 24 rushing touchdowns, earning ACC Player of the Year for his efforts. He led the Tigers in rushing all four of his seasons, including his freshman year when he didn't start a single game for the Tigers. His career total at Clemson is 70 rushing touchdowns and eight more through the air. He has 6,857 total career yards from scrimmage for an average of 124.7 all-purpose yards per game.
Comments: Etienne may be on the smaller side at 5-10, especially when being compared to Najee Harris out of Alabama, who stands at 6-2 as the other top running back prospect of the 2021 class. However, Etienne has made his mark because of his speed and violent running style as NFL.com's Lance Zierlein puts it.
"Rampaging, loose-hipped runner who wins with force and speed," Zierlein writes. "Etienne's scheme will create favorable boxes for him to run into at times, but his contact balance and overall will to avoid being tackled has earned plenty of tough yardage. He has average size and runs with long strides and a frenetic pace that hampers his quick-cut control and fluidity at times. However, he has home-run speed in the open field and runs with fury and pop to finish near the goal line. He's a greatly improved pass-catching option but needs to step up consistently in pass protection. His tools for creating yardage stand out during games and that same presence should be on display as a dangerous pro back."
Etienne had the most receiving yards of his career in 2020, catching those aforementioned 48 catches for 588 yards last year. That would come in handy for the Bucs, who are still looking for a reliable pass-catching running back to complement their scheme and quarterback Tom Brady's skillset. At Clemson's pro day, draft analyst Bucky Brooks had this to say, according to an article on NFL.com:
"Does he have the ability to catch the ball and run routes, maybe like a Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara type? He's already a three-down running back, but how special could he be in the passing game? When you watched him today, he caught the ball pretty well," Brooks said on NFL Now. "A little more natural than I thought he looked on tape. I think he comes away with a pretty good workout. He helped himself."
Etienne also clocked 40-yard dash times of 4.41 and 4.43, reinforcing his speedy capabilities.