CLEMSON — For three seasons Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne starred together at Clemson. Now the two are teaming up in the NFL.
Etienne was drafted No. 25 overall by the Jaguars Thursday night, about three hours after Lawrence went No. 1 overall to the Jags.
Etienne developed into a complete back who could make plays in the running game and passing game during his time at Clemson, which is what stood out to Jaguars coach Urban Meyer.
“This is a multi-dimensional back,” Meyer said. “The idea of offense is to create matchup nightmares. … He’s as good outside as a receiver as he is as a running back.”
Etienne was named the ACC Player of the Year twice during his four-year college career. He helped Clemson to the College Football Playoff all four seasons and won four ACC championships. Clemson also won the 2018 national championship, which Etienne was a big part of.
The Louisiana native finished his college career with an ACC record 4,952 rushing yards and 70 touchdowns. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry during his time at Clemson.
“High end character guy that has elite speed… really, really excited,” Meyer said.
Etienne joins a Jaguars backfield that already has a pair of downhill running backs in James Robinson and Carlos Hyde. Meyer believes Etienne will bring something different to Jacksonville’s offense.
“He’s a matchup issue for defenses,” Meyer said. “The way that we’ve always looked at offensive football over the years is any time you can find that dual-threat guy that can carry the ball and catch the ball, obviously the name that comes up is Percy (Harvin) so often. I’m not saying he’s a Percy. We’ll find out. But he’s a guy that’s a piece to the puzzle that’s hard to cover.”
Etienne was the second running back off the board in Thursday’s first round, going one pick behind Alabama star Najee Harris.
The Steelers picked Harris at No. 24 overall, and as Pittsburgh was on the clock, Meyer was nervous Etienne might come off the board instead. He was relieved when the Jaguars were able to land the back they really coveted.
“I was sitting there and it’s like fourth-and-1 watching to see who the Steelers were going to take,” Meyer said. “They took a great player, but the guy that we kinda had penciled in, we got him.”
In addition to Lawrence and Etienne, former Clemson receivers Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell and offensive lineman Jackson Carman are expected to be drafted over the next couple of days.
Rounds 2-3 of the NFL Draft are Friday night, with rounds 4-7 on Saturday.