Tigers Make History in Round 1 of 2021 NFL Draft
CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson added another chapter to its NFL Draft history on Thursday evening, as the Jacksonville Jaguars selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall and running back Travis Etienne No. 25 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lawrence became the first No. 1 overall pick in Clemson Football history, and the selections made Lawrence and Etienne the first quarterback/running back duo selected from the same school by the same team in the first round the Common Draft era (since 1967).
The selections of Lawrence and Etienne gave Clemson multiple first-round picks for a program-record third consecutive year. Clemson and Alabama are the only programs to have produced multiple first-rounders in each of the last three drafts.
With Lawrence’s selection, Clemson became only the 51st program ever to produce a No. 1 pick since the inception of the NFL Draft in 1936 and only the third ever to do so while members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Lawrence now moves to the professional level after a decorated college career in which he became the winningest quarterback in Clemson history (34-2 as a starter) while also earning his degree in only three years.
“The Jaguars are getting a winner, capital W-I-N-N-E-R, WINNER,” Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney said. “They’re getting a great human being, great leader and a highly skilled football player.”
Lawrence’s selection at No. 1 surpassed Banks McFadden (No. 4 in 1939), Gaines Adams (No. 4 in 2007), Sammy Watkins (No 4 in 2014) and Clelin Ferrell (No. 4 in 2019) to make him the highest NFL Draft selection from Clemson all-time. He became the third No. 1 overall pick across all sports in Clemson Athletics history, joining baseball’s Kris Benson (1996) and men’s soccer’s Robbie Robinson (2020).
Lawrence helped guide Clemson to the program’s third national title in 2018, starting the final 11 games of major college football’s first 15-0 campaign since 1897. This past season, he finished second in Heisman Trophy voting and won the Bobby Bowden Trophy and ACC Player of the Year amid a plethora of conference and national awards.
Etienne completed one of the most prolific careers in Clemson, ACC and college football history from 2017-20, becoming a consensus All-American in 2020 after winning back-to-back ACC Player of the Year honors in 2018 and 2019. He departed for the NFL as the FBS record-holder for most career games scoring a touchdown (46 of his 55 career games) as well as the ACC career record-holder for rushing yards (4,952), total touchdowns (78), rushing touchdowns (70) and points scored (468).
“He is a first-, second- and third-down guy, and he can change the game any play, any quarter,” Swinney said. “Any time he touches the ball, he is one of those guys that you’ve got to hold your breath.”
Etienne became Clemson’s third first-round running back in the Common Draft era, joining Terrence Flagler (No. 25 in 1987) and current Clemson running backs coach C.J. Spiller (No. 9 in 2010). He joined Spiller, Virginia Tech’s David Wilson (No. 32 in 2012), Virginia’s Thomas Jones (No. 7 in 2000) and Florida State’s Warrick Dunn (No. 12 in 1997) as the fifth ACC running back selected in the first round in the last 25 years.
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