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Know your draft pick: Jaguars RB Travis Etienne

Clemson running back Travis Etienne (9) runs for a touchdown during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Notre Dame, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. Etienne was selected to The Associated Press All-America first-team offense, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020.(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Clemson running back Travis Etienne (9) runs for a touchdown during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Notre Dame, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. Etienne was selected to The Associated Press All-America first-team offense, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020.(AP Photo/Brian Blanco) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – By now, Jaguars fans have a good feeling for who Trevor Lawrence is. The first overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft has been covered at length. But what about the rest of the Jaguars draft class?

Today, we begin our series “Know your draft pick” with the other first-round selection, running back Travis Etienne.

Background

Etienne was born and raised in Jennings, Louisiana, with an approximate population of 10,000. At Jennings’ high school, Etienne scored 115 touchdowns and also played varsity basketball.

At Clemson, Etienne totaled over 6,100 scrimmage yards and averaged a remarkable 7.2 yards per carry. He scored 28 touchdowns on offense, including 70 rushing touchdowns. As a freshman, he earned third-team All-ACC honors and was a first-team pick in his final three seasons.

Quotable

“You’d be crazy not to want to play with Trevor Lawrence. I definitely wanted to be with Trevor. I feel as if, like I said earlier, it brings me that sense of normalcy being with him these past three years. I feel like I can’t wait to do great things here. We built a lot of chemistry, especially these past two years. His freshman year, I wasn’t that much of a receiving threat. His sophomore and junior years, we stayed out after practice and kept working, kept working, kept working. You just see it kind of pays off. You see it on the field now, he’s throwing me darts, things he probably would’ve thrown to me his freshman year, now he has the confidence in me and trust in me, so I’m grateful.”

Etienne on continuing his football journey with his college quarterback

“I saw the violence that he plays with and the speed — speed wins. We were a team that really struggled with big-play hits last year and, especially in the NFL, but the opportunity to sustain 10-, 12-, 13-play drives, the percentages say that doesn’t happen, so we need some hits and we didn’t have it. Travis has got that gift. He’s got that gift of if that guy touches the ball there’s a chance it’s going, and that’s the biggest thing I looked at. Of course the high quality — I look forward to meeting with his family, that’s always very important to me, extremely high-quality family and someone that’s going to be here grinding, that’s real important to this organization as well.”

Urban Meyer on the decision to draft Etienne with the 25th pick

Highlights

Here’s a look at Etienne’s speed. Watch how two defenders appear to have an angle on him, but he blows right past them.

Delivering in the clutch. Lawrence to Etienne for the game-winning touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

This one ties for the longest touchdown run in Clemson history.

What the analysts are saying

“Overall, Etienne has room to develop his feel between the tackles, but he is an assertive ball carrier who creates chunk plays due to his immediate acceleration, explosive strides and contact balance. He projects as a home run hitter in an NFL backfield with the upside to be more.” — Dane Brugler, The Athletic

“Etienne is a really good running back and pass-catcher, but I have to ding them a little bit for taking a first-round tailback.” — Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

“The electric runner is a big-play machine with speed to burn. An explosive one-cut runner, Etienne is a threat to score whenever he touches the rock as a runner or receiver.” — Bucky Brooks, NFL.com


About the Author:

Cole joined News4Jax full-time in January 2017, but he has been a part of the team since he began filling in as a sports anchor in 2005.