On Friday afternoon just before the NFL deadline to declare, Clemson running back Travis Etienne announced he was coming back for his senior year of college.
Travis Etienne provided many reasons why he was coming back, all of which anyone paying attention to the type of program Coach Swinney runs understood.
There are two reasons that people have stated as to why they are confused as to why he would come back – NFL money and the wear and tear on his body given the short-tenured nature of NFL running backs.
Earlier this week, Rubbing The Rock, dispelled the money reasons and showed that by coming back Travis Etienne stands to make nearly $20 million more on his first contract as he will go from the sixth or seventh best running back in the 2020 NFL to the top running back in the 2021 NFL draft class.
Let’s take a look at the “wear and tear” on his body for coming back a fourth year. Here is a look at Travis Etienne versus other first-round running backs over the last several years.
- Saquon Barkley – three years and 671 carries
- Leonard Fournette – three years and 616 carries
- Ezekiel Elliott – three years and 592 carries
- Jonathan Taylor – three years and 926 carries
- J.K. Dobbins – three years and 725 carries
- Chuba Hubbard – two years and 452 carries
Travis Etienne will enter his senior year at Clemson 518 carries. Even after a fourth year at Clemson, he will enter the 2021 NFL draft with less wear and tear on his body than a lot of guys entering the draft after their third year in college.
He will have the same benefits as running backs like Alvin Kamara, Sony Michel, and Nick Chubb. Players that were highly effective in college but split carries and had fresh legs coming into the league. Travis averages just over 13 carries per game and that will not change in 2020.
Looking at the backfield in 2020, he will have five different running backs that can help carry the load; Lyn-J Dixon, Michel Dukes, Chez Mellusi and freshman Koby Pryor and Demarkcus Bowman. This will arguably be the deepest running back group in the country next season.
Whether you agree with his decision to come back in 2020, he is going to and all of us get the pleasure to watch him obliterate every school and ACC rushing record.