Heisman Rankings 2018: Top 20 Heisman Trophy candidates

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images /

Last season,  the Clemson Tigers made it back to the College Football Playoff, where they took on rival Alabama in the national semifinal round. After beating the Crimson Tide the year before, the Tigers fell to Nick Saban and company last year, but the stage is set for them to be one of the more dominating teams in college football once again in 2018.

While the quarterback position has dominated headlines this summer, with Kelly Bryant trying to hold off star freshman Tyler Lawrence, the running back spot has no question marks attached to it. That spot belongs to sophomore Travis Etienne, who burst onto the scene as a freshman last season and could be in for a magic year in his sophomore campaign.

Etienne, who many believe is the fastest player in college football, appeared in 13 games for the Tigers last season and rushed for nearly 800 yards. In addition, he led the ACC with a 7.2 yards per carry average, all the while finding the end zone 13 times on the ground, which was the fourth-best total in the conference as well.

A native of Louisiana, Etienne shunned his hometown LSU Tigers in favor of the Clemson Tigers, and Dabo Swinney and company have to be excited that he did. A second-team All-ACC pick a year ago, Etienne is a guy who could rush for well over 1,000 yards in year two, taking some of the pressure off of whoever is starting under center for the Tigers.

Clemson is a college football powerhouse, and it is players like Etienne who will have them in the national title picture again this upcoming season. He averaged over 11 yards per carry during his final year of high school, and with his shiftiness, getting more than the 7.2 yards he averaged last season is not out of the question.