Clemson Football: Travis Etienne named best running back in the nation

Clemson football RB Travis Etienne was named the nation’s top running back by Pro Football Focus, despite not being a finalist for the Doak Walker Award.

Travis Etienne wasn’t named as a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, but the Clemson football running back is still being recognized by reputable organizations.

Etienne, who leads the nation in yards per carry, has rushed the ball 182 times for 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was named to the All-ACC first-team and has been considered by many the top prospect at running back for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Despite being snubbed for the Doak Walker Award behind J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State), Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin) and Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma State) before Taylor eventually won the award, Etienne was named the top running back in the nation by Pro Football Focus.

“Etienne set the record from us at PFF with the highest percentage of missed tackles forced per carry by breaking a tackle on 46% of his attempts in 2019,” PFF’s Cam Mellor said. “He totaled 84 missed tackles forced on just 181 carries, ranking first among running backs in total missed tackles forced on the ground but just 45th in total attempts this season. He churned out a first down or a touchdown on his carries 37% of the time while he broke off first contact just the same, earning 973 of his 1,492 total rushing yards after contact.”

Etienne has been the single-most explosive player in College Football for the entire season. He has rushed the ball really well and has continuously come up with big plays for Clemson. Though many overlook him because of the Tigers’ perceived weak schedule, Etienne has been a vital part of the Clemson offense and certainly one of the top players in the nation. That was amplified by the fact that he was the ACC Player of the Year for a second-straight season.

Etienne is currently second on the all-time list for rushing yards in Clemson football history, just behind Raymond Priester (3,966 yards). For those counting, Etienne (3,924 yards) is just 43 yards away from breaking the program record. In addition to the record he is close to setting for the school, Etienne also broke the records for total touchdowns and rushing touchdowns in a career in the ACC, all of this in just three seasons.

Make sure you check back here on Rubbing the Rock for more updates, analysis and coverage as we prepare for Clemson to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first-round of the CFB Playoff.