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Fact or Fiction: Travis Etienne is the best RB in the CFB Playoff

National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.

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1. Travis Etienne is the best running back in the playoff.

Travis Etienne
Travis Etienne (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FICTION. Travis Etinenne could be the top running back taken in the NFL Draft but J.K. Dobbins is the best running back and most important at his position to his team in the playoff. Dobbins makes the Ohio State offense go and if he gets shut down, the Buckeyes are in big trouble. And let’s not forget Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who could be the most underrated player in the country.

Gorney’s take: FACT. Dobbins might be more valuable to Ohio State’s offense, but that’s only because Clemson has so many incredible weapons at every position. Etienne is still the best running back in the playoff as he’s rushed for more than eight yards per carry the last two seasons. That’s just unbelievable. He’s also rushed for 54 touchdowns compared to Dobbins’ 37. Dobbins does have more rushing yards but he also has 707 carries compared to Etienne’s 493. There’s no doubt Etienne is the better back, although Dobbins is super special as well.


2. Noah Sewell will impact earlier than Justin Flowe at Oregon.

Justin Flowe
Justin Flowe (Nick Lucero/

Farrell’s take: FACT. Justin Flowe is a tackling machine and a highlight waiting to happen, but Noah Sewell will impact earlier because he’s also going to play some offense. It won’t be a lot at first, but over time he could become the next Myles Jack of the Pac-12 and his impact on both sides of the ball will be key early.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. I could see some goal-line packages for Sewell, but let’s not forget where his bread and butter is - and that’s at linebacker. Flowe and Sewell will be a special combination for years in Eugene and could lead the Ducks to not only the College Football Playoff but a potential national championship. Both could be Day 1 starters and both should be spectacular because they’re not only college-ready but both are incredibly productive and versatile. I’d still give Flowe the edge over any linebacker in this class, but it’s close.


3. Derek Stingley Jr. is the best prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Derek Stingley, Jr.
Derek Stingley, Jr. (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FACT. Yes there will be quarterbacks that emerge and likely be drafted higher, but Derek Stingley, Jr. is a very, very rare talent at the cornerback position and has a legit shot at going No 1 overall if he continues to develop. Evan Neal is an elite tackle prospect out of Alabama and we all know that a big time defensive end will emerge like Kayvon Thibodeaux, but right now give me Stingley.

Gorney’s take: FACT. It’s still so early, but I’ll play along here. Stingley is an exceptional talent that NFL teams will fall in love with and if he was this good as a freshman, imagine what he will become over the next couple years. What LSU has going for it, too, is that five-star Elias Ricks is coming in to compete for the other cornerback job, so DBU will be loaded for many years to come. It will be interesting if Thibodeaux continues to develop. Neal will be loved. I’m also interested to see if Jayden Daniels gets a lot of early first-round hype if he keeps performing so well at Arizona State, but Stingley is almost a sure thing.