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Etienne Still an Unparalleled Playmaker

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Even in a season full of star power, don't forget about Travis Etienne.

Here is the power of Travis Etienne. Clemson's all-everything running back does not currently rank in the national top 50 in rushing yards per game. He remains one of college football's premier playmakers ever.

In addition to recently becoming the ACC's all-time leading rusher and, previously, the league's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, and being the only college football player this millennium with at least 4,500 rushing yards (he has 4,730) and 50 rushing scores (he has 68) at at least seven yards per carry (he is at 7.3), Etienne has clearly transformed himself into one of the game's best pass-catchers. After 37 grabs a year ago, he now has 40 receptions, the same number as North Carolina star Dazz Newsome, a future pro on the perimeter.

Through just nine games, Etienne is already one of just four ACC running backs over the past 20 years with 12 rushing touchdowns and 40 receptions in a single season. He is the only player in the country with those minimums this fall. More, in each category, is clearly coming. Even in what some pundits may call a "down" statistical year, Etienne is still making plays in ways that nobdoy else in college football is.

One of just four players in the country with 1,200 yards from scrimmage, Etienne leads the other two running backs in the group with seven yards per play compared to 6.3 and 6.0, respectively.

Leading into Clemson's regular season finale with Virginia Tech, where he will match up against the nation's fourth-leading rusher in Khalil Herbert in a true running back showcase for the sport, Etienne has scored at least one touchdown in each of the Tigers' FBS pairings. Given past Decembers and Januarys, he is also poised for a banner finish. In eight such contests throughout his career, Etienne has scored a dozen total touchdowns. With a win over the Hokies, he will get a rematch against Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game.

Even in a season full of star power, don't forget about Travis Etienne. Now in the top 20 in college football history in career scrimmage yards with 5,808, the future first round NFL Draft pick and College Football Hall of Famer continues his sprint towards the top ten. A playmaker for the ages, his work rate continues as well.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports