Clemson Tigers running back Travis Etienne indulged on Popeyes chicken to put on weight. Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Etienne has been one of the best running backs in college football over the past two seasons, and the Clemson star is hoping to be even better in 2020. One of the ways he is planning to be at his absolute best this year is by laying off the Popeyes.

Etienne rushed for 1,614 yards and 19 touchdowns on just 207 attempts last season. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider that he posted them after binging on Popeyes and other saturated fats all spring.

“I had a little too much to eat,” Etienne said roughly a year ago, via Grace Raynor of The Athletic. “I was 210 pounds when I left. When I got on the scale, I was 218. … I’m still trying to slim back down.”

Etienne estimated that he gained eight pounds in eight days by eating at Popeyes and other unhealthy establishments. He also recalled one of his high school teachers making him a batch of Oreo balls, in addition to feasting on home-cooked classics from his mother and grandmother that probably would not have been approved by Clemson’s nutritional staff. This year, however, things are different.

According to Raynor, those who have seen Etienne say he is in outstanding shape heading into his senior season. He has been laying off starches and instead loading up on proteins, and his personal trainer Emerson Baty says Etienne is in “phenomenal shape.” Etienne’s high school coach, Rusty Phelps, can attest.

“This is the best I’ve seen him look,” Phelps told Raynor. “Really.”

Etienne has averaged an eye-popping 8.0 yards per carry in his three seasons with Clemson. He likely would have gone no later than the second round and possibly in the first of the NFL Draft, but he announced not long after the national title game that he is returning for his senior season.

If the Etienne we saw last season was in less-than-perfect shape, defenders should be afraid. He was already capable of ripping off some huge plays, but added quickness and strength would make him that much more dangerous.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.



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1950
 
Oklahoma
1951
 
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1952
 
Michigan State
1953
 
Maryland
1954
 
Ohio State
1954
 
UCLA
1955
 
Oklahoma
1956
 
Oklahoma
1957
 
Auburn
1957
 
Ohio State
1958
 
Iowa
1958
 
LSU
1959
 
Syracuse
1960
 
Minnesota
1960
 
Ole Miss
1961
 
Alabama
1961
 
Ohio State
1962
 
USC
1963
 
Texas
1964
 
Alabama
1964
 
Arkansas
1964
 
Notre Dame
1965
 
Alabama
1965
 
Michigan State
1966
 
Michigan State
1966
 
Notre Dame
1967
 
USC
1968
 
Ohio State
1969
 
Texas
1970
 
Nebraska
1970
 
Ohio State
1970
 
Texas
1971
 
Nebraska
1972
 
USC
1973
 
Alabama
1973
 
Notre Dame
1974
 
Oklahoma
1974
 
USC
1975
 
Oklahoma
1976
 
Pittsburgh
1977
 
Notre Dame
1978
 
Alabama
1978
 
USC
1979
 
Alabama
1980
 
Georgia
1981
 
Clemson
1982
 
Penn State
1983
 
Miami
1984
 
BYU
1985
 
Oklahoma
1986
 
Penn State
1987
 
Miami
1988
 
Notre Dame
1989
 
Miami
1990
 
Colorado
1990
 
Georgia Tech
1991
 
Miami
1991
 
Washington
1992
 
Alabama
1993
 
Florida State
1994
 
Nebraska
1995
 
Nebraska
1996
 
Florida
1997
 
Michigan
1997
 
Nebraska
1998
 
Tennessee
1999
 
Florida State
2000
 
Oklahoma
2001
 
Miami
2002
 
Ohio State
2003
 
LSU
2003
 
USC
2004*
*vacated
USC
2005
 
Texas
2006
 
Florida
2007
 
LSU
2008
 
Florida
2009
 
Alabama
2010
 
Auburn
2011
 
Alabama
2012
 
Alabama
2013
 
Florida State
2014
 
Ohio State
2015
 
Alabama
2016
 
Clemson
2017
 
Alabama
2018
 
Clemson
2019
 
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