Clemson has filled a position of need this evening with the commitment of Louisiana RB Travis Etienne. The Louisiana native is considered to be a 4 star prospect by the 247 Composite. He was recruited by Tony Elliott for Clemson who had to fend of LSU, Tennessee, and Texas A&M for his commitment. The big challenger was LSU who came in late, just like Clemson.
Etienne is listed as 5’11 210 and has a 4.43 40 time. Ideally he fills the big bruiser back role that Clemson is going to lack with the departure of Wayne Gallman. His commitment also gives Clemson 4 scholarship RBs for 2017. Without this commitment Clemson would be extremely thin at RB for the 2017 season. Etienne also gives Clemson 11 blue chip recruits out of the 14 members currently committed, an excellent ratio that will help offset the small class size.
Dabo straight flexed on Ed O with this one. This is the first time that the National Champion Tigers were able to use their status and brand new facilities to beat a national powerhouse—in their own backyard. I have long said that you don’t want to consistently mine the state of Louisiana. LSU is just too ingrained in those high schools (the booster network is very strong). But in this case LSU was open about their courtship of Cam Akers who committed to FSU and neglected Etienne until they became desperate.
Clemson lost longtime RB commit Richardson because of qualifying concerns and then got beat by Oregon for the commitment of RB Darrian Felix. Felix was basically given an ultimatum by Oregon to either commit or go to Clemson for an official. Clemson was shocked that Felix decided against visiting Clemson. I think this worked out great because Clemson needed a bigger back in this class. Richardson was a perfect fit as a bruising back with good speed who could attack the A gap. Felix was an all-purpose back who barely weighed 175 pounds.
Etienne gives you a mixture of the two. He is big enough to eventually run between the tackles but has enough speed to be a threat outside. Wayne Gallman is what you hope Etienne eventually becomes and he is an easy comparison. Both needed to learn how to run in a spread offense and run between the tackles. Etienne’s high school offense gets him running to the perimeter more than between the tackles. Etienne also runs a bit upright like Gallman.
Etienne will need to work on being a complete back—blocking, running routes, and developing vision as a runner. He will need to run with a bit more lean, falling forward and breaking tackles. There will be an acclimation period for the recruit, but he has a lot of plus tools. He has the athleticism, size and speed you want at the position.
This is a very important commitment because Clemson needed the running back depth. RB is a position that has one of the highest rates of injury and having only three total RBs on the roster is playing with fire. Now you have four with a quality walk-on RB (we quickly forget how valuable the scout team is to the development of players during the season and getting the team ready to play each week). It would have been three years with only one RB take if we missed on Etienne.
Dabeau gets his man. Etienne is ‘All In’.