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.
The 2021 NFL Draft will resume at 7 p.m. ET on Friday with Rounds 2-3. Notes and comments from Clemson coaches following each selection are available on ClemsonTigers.com Draft Central.
Draft notes and comments from Clemson coaches from Day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft are included below.
- Became only the 51st program ever to produce a No. 1 overall pick since inception of the draft in 1936.
- Became the seventh current ACC program to produce a No. 1 overall pick, joining Florida State, Miami (Fla.), NC State, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech. However, Clemson became the third program ever to produce a No. 1 pick while a member of the ACC, as Miami, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech’s No. 1 picks predated their tenure in the ACC.
- Has now produced a first-round pick in eight of the last nine drafts, dating to the 2013 NFL Draft. The only draft in that span in which Clemson did not have at least one first-round pick was 2018. Clemson, Alabama and Florida are the only programs to have produced a first-round pick in at least eight of the last nine drafts.
- Has now produced a Top 10 pick in three consecutive drafts for the first time in program history. Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, only Clemson, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State had produced a Top 10 selection in each of the previous two drafts.
- Has now produced multiple first-round picks in three consecutive drafts for the first time in program history. Clemson and Alabama are the only schools to produce multiple first-round picks in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 NFL Drafts.
- After producing multiple first-round picks on defense in each of the previous two drafts, Clemson produced multiple first-round picks from the offense for the third time in school history, joining the 1979 and 2017, both of which featured quarterback/receiver duos.
- Clemson and Alabama (QB Mac Jones and RB Najee Harris) became the fifth and sixth programs since 2000 to produce a quarterback/running back duo in the first round of a single draft, joining LSU (QB Joe Burrow and RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire in 2020), Georgia (QB Matthew Stafford and RB Knowshon Moreno in 2009), USC (QB Matt Leinart and RB Reggie Bush in 2006) and Auburn (QB Jason Campbell and RBs Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams in 2005).
- With Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne both being selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round, the duo became the QB/RB duo from a single school ever drafted by the same team in the first round of an NFL Draft in the Common Draft era.
- Lawrence and Etienne became only the sixth pair of college teammates to be drafted by a single team in the first round in the Common Draft era, joining Georgia T Isaiah Wynn and RB Sony Michel (New England in 2018), Auburn CB Carlos Rogers and QB Jason Campbell (Washington in 2005), Miami DE Bill Hawkins and RB Cleveland Gary (Los Angeles Rams in 1989), Arkansas LB Billy Ray Smith and RB Gary Anderson (San Diego in 1983) and Michigan State RB Clint Jones and WR Gene Washington (Minnesota in 1967).
- Extended its streak of consecutive drafts with at least one selection to 19 since 2003, representing the second-longest streak in school history behind a 24-year streak across the 1951-74 NFL Drafts.
- Became the 65th player to have played for Head Coach Dabo Swinney to be drafted into the NFL, including the 14th first-round pick of Swinney’s tenure.
- Represents Clemson’s 35th first-round pick in the NFL Draft all-time, dating back to Banks McFadden’s selection by the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers with the fourth overall pick in the 1940 NFL Draft.
- 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) as highest NFL Draft selection from Clemson all-time.
- Became the third No. 1 overall pick in Clemson Athletics history, joining baseball’s Kris Benson (1996) and men’s soccer’s Robbie Robinson (2020).
- Became the sixth top-five pick in Clemson Football history and the 14th top-five pick in Clemson Athletics history. Including top-five selections Philip Mayaka and Kimarni Smith in the MLS SuperDraft earlier this year, 2021 now marks the fourth year in school history in which Clemson has had multiple top-five picks across all sports, joining 1996 (baseball’s Kris Benson and Billy Koch), 2007 (football’s Gaines Adams and baseball’s Daniel Moskos) and 2019 (football’s Clelin Ferrell and women’s soccer’s Sam Staab). This year marks Clemson Athletics’ first year with three top-five picks across all sports.
- Joined Florida State’s Jameis Winston (2015), NC State’s Mario Williams (2006), Virginia Tech’s Michael Vick (1999) and Bruce Smith (1985), Miami’s Russell Maryland (1991) and Vinny Testaverde (1987), Syracuse’s Ernie Davis (1962) and Virginia’s Bill Dudley (1942) as the only No. 1 overall picks from current ACC programs. Of those previous selections, only Winston and Williams competed as members of the ACC.
- Became the second Clemson player drafted by the Jaguars since the franchise’s debut in 1995. He joins defensive end Andre Branch, whom the Jaguars selected in the second round (No. 38 overall) in 2012.
- Became Clemson’s 13th Top 10 pick all-time and, including the No. 4 overall pick of Clelin Ferrell in 2019 and the No. 8 overall pick of Isaiah Simmons in 2020, gave Clemson three consecutive drafts with a Top 10 selection for the first time in Clemson history. Prior to the current run, Clemson had previously twice had Top 10 picks in back-to-back drafts, including 1982-83 with Jeff Bryant and Terry Kinard and 2014-15 with Sammy Watkins and Vic Beasley.
- Joined Steve Fuller (1979), Charlie Whitehurst (2006), Tajh Boyd (2013) and Deshaun Watson (2017) as the fifth Clemson quarterback drafted in the Common Draft era. Lawrence (34 wins), Watson (32), Boyd (32) and Whitehurst (25) account for four of the five winningest starting quarterbacks in Clemson history. Lawrence joined Watson and Fuller as Clemson’s third first-round quarterback in the Common Draft era.
- Became the first Clemson player to be the first player selected on either side of the ball in a draft since 2007, when Gaines Adams was the first defensive player selected when he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 4 overall.
- Snapped a three-draft streak in which a defensive player was the first Clemson player selected (LB Dorian O’Daniel in 2018, DE Clelin Ferrell in 2019, LB Isaiah Simmons in 2020). Prior to Lawrence, the last offensive player to be the first Clemson player selected in a draft was wide receiver Mike Williams (No. 7 overall in 2017).
- Gave the NFL have back-to-back No. 1 overall picks with a national championship to their credit for the first time since the 1991 NFL Draft (Miami DT Russell Maryland) and 1992 NFL Draft (Washington DE Steve Emtman). Lawrence won a national championship during the 2018 season, and last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Joe Burrow, won a national championship during the 2019 season.
- Became the 66th player to have played for Head Coach Dabo Swinney to be drafted into the NFL, including the 15th first-round pick of Swinney’s tenure.
- Became Clemson’s third first-round running back in the Common Draft era (since 1967), joining Terrence Flagler (No. 25 in 1987) and current Clemson running backs coach C.J. Spiller (No. 9 in 2010).
- Tied Flagler as the second-highest-drafted running back from Clemson in the Common Draft era.
- Joined Flagler (1987) and CB Antwan Edwards (1999) as the third No. 25 overall pick in Clemson history.
- 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.
- Gave Clemson multiple first-round picks by a single team in one draft for the first time in school history.
- Became the third Clemson player ever drafted by the Jaguars, joining DE Andre Branch (2012) and Lawrence (2021).
Head Coach Dabo Swinney on Trevor Lawrence:
“The Jaguars are getting a winner, capital W-I-N-N-E-R, WINNER. They’re getting a great human being, great leader and a highly skilled football player. He is a mentally and physically tough football player. He’s fast, he’s big, he’s strong, and he is an incredibly equipped and skilled quarterback. He just really has great command of the position, an understanding of football, aptitude for football, understanding of defense. Really, there is not anything you could ever want in a quarterback that he doesn’t possess. But the No. 1 thing that they’re getting is a great man of faith, great character and the ultimate winner. If you go all the way back to middle school, he has not lost many games. And I think he is going to be a guy that impacts the community, will impact the coaching staff, will impact free agency, and really do it in an incredibly humble way. Great spirit, a guy that has got his feet on the ground and really ‘gets it’ in every aspect of what his responsibility and what his role will be, not only in the organization but within the community and the NFL.”
Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Brandon Streeter on Trevor Lawrence:
“I can’t say enough good things about Trevor Lawrence and what he’s about not only on the field but especially off the field. Obviously, his talent that we all see is ridiculous, but in all areas he has performed so well. I’m just excited about his opportunity to move on to the next level. I think his locker room presence, him being an unbelievable teammate and just his character in general are off the charts. His perspective on life is exactly what you want. I’m so proud of him and excited for this opportunity in his life.”
Head Coach Dabo Swinney on Travis Etienne:
“Travis is one of the most explosive, dynamic players that I have ever seen. He is a bigger C.J. Spiller, which is the best way I can describe him based on the guys that I have had experience with. C.J. was probably 199-200 lbs. Travis is just bigger, but he has that same explosiveness. He is dynamic, as far as what he can do in the passing game. He can also return. He has an incredibly humble spirit to him. He is one of the best teammates you can ever have, and he is blue collar. He is just a tough, blue-collar football player. He is an every-down player. He is a first-, second- and third-down guy, and he can change the game any play, any quarter. Any time he touches the ball, he is one of those guys that you’ve got to hold your breath, and I can’t wait to see him at the next level and watch him continue to develop as a complete player.”
Running Backs Coach C.J. Spiller on Travis Etienne:
“They’re getting a tremendous player and a guy that’s going to come in and work hard and he’s also going to be great in the community. He’s a guy that’s going to love playing football, love his teammates, put his team first and do whatever it takes to win. They’re getting a tremendous young man that’s going to be very successful. He’s somebody that comes from a winning program, so he understands what it takes to win at a high level. He’s going to come in and compete each and every day, so he’s going to be a great addition to their team.”
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