Back One More Run for Clemson’s Legendary Etienne

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One More Run for Clemson’s Legendary Etienne

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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There haven't been many players, regardless of era or position, quite like Travis Etienne.

As Clemson's Travis Etienne begins his senior season, he does so as one of college football's best running backs ever.

With over 4,000 career rushing yards and an ACC-record 54 rushing touchdowns already, Etienne, with three playoff appearances, three conference titles and a national championship also on his resume, is making history at 7.8 career yards per carry. This Tiger is on pace to be one of the very few names truly in the GOAT conversation. His consistency, efficiency and success is both part of Clemson's modern-day dynasty and the running back position's new status quo.

College football simply hasn't seen much like what Etienne can do. With another year still to go, the sports has somehow still seen it twice. Just five times this millennium has an FBS player rushed for at least 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns at 7.8 yards per carry in a single season; two of those five efforts belong to Etienne. He is the only FBS running back since at least 2000, and perhaps all-time, with those minimums plus 37 catches in one year, referencing Etienne's most-recent production as a junior.

Keeping in mind that Etienne still has one more season to come, he is already the lone FBS running back the past 20 years, again maybe ever, with 4,000 yards rushing, 50 rushing touchdowns, 7.5 yards per rush attempt and 500 receiving yards in career. Etienne also, of course, has a fistful of rings and individual honors as well.

Remarkably, Clemson is 40-1 when Etienne gets more than five carries in a single game.

The milestones are many. Etienne rushed for 98 yards and a score in his first ACC game, then promptly jumped to 113 yards and two touchdowns in his home league debut. In a 2018 run where Clemson won the national title, Etienne saved the day with 203 rushing yards, three scores and a late game-winner as the Tigers were without Kelly Bryant and Trevor Lawrence under center. Etienne's postseason run, one where Clemson scored 116 points in thre games, was a leading one: 351 rushing yards and six total touchdowns. Fittingly, Etienne opened the ACC Championship Game with a 75-yard score on the first play from scrimmage.

Etienne, last season, compiled over 2,000 all-purpose yards in helping to lead Clemson to the national championship game in his home state of Louisiana.

For a talent with make-you-miss moves, Etienne shook many pundits in turning down the NFL in deciding to return to college football for his senior year. With the momentum of 3,272 rushing yards and 43 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons alone, Etienne, adding receiving production to his profile as a junior, is working on an a one-of-a-kind legacy; one that is already one of the greatest the game has ever seen.

There haven't been many players, regardless of era or position, quite like Etienne. History already made, he is back and ready for more.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports