Running back Travis Etienne opted to return to Clemson rather than enter the NFL Draft in 2020 and became the leading rusher in ACC history while earning his degree during his final year in school.
While Etienne reached that landmark, Clemson fell short of a national title and his production as a runner was down from the previous two seasons. That did not leave Etienne with any regrets about the decision, however. He said the call “panned out better than I expected” and now he’s looking for the same from the 2021 draft.
It’s unclear if any running back will be a first-round pick, but Etienne believes his ability to run the ball, catch the ball, and pitch in on special teams makes his case to be the first back off the board.
“They’re going to get their money’s worth. They’re going to get everything they need. A guy that can be out there each and every down, with the ability to play special teams. I feel like I’m unique. I feel like I’m RB1 because of the things I bring to the table. If a team is looking at me, they’ll get the whole package,” Etienne said, via Safid Deen of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Alabama’s Najee Harris is usually ranked at the top of the running back list with Etienne and he’s a bigger back than his ACC peer. Some teams will likely favor what he brings to the table and where they fall in the draft order will likely determine the first running back off the board in April.