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.
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