Tony Elliott – Clemson University

FootballScoop is proud to announce that Tony Elliott is the 2017 FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year presented by AstroTurf as selected by prior winners.

Clemson again won the ACC and reached the College Football Playoff in 2017, the favorites to defend their hard-won national championship of a year ago. And again the Tigers did it with a productive running game that lacked a big name star.

Despite losing the all-around dynamo Wayne Gallman and all-everything signal caller Deshaun Watson to the NFL Draft, the Tigers’ ground game got better. A team that ranked 71st in rushing and 73rd in yards per carry a year ago now ranks 33rd in rushing and 34th in yards per carry. Clemson jumped from 169.8 yards per game and 4.31 per carry to 204.1 and 4.87, respectively, this season.

True freshman Travis Etienne led the club with 103 carries for 744 yards and a team-high 13 touchdowns, a 7.22 yards per carry average that ranked 11th nationally among all players with at least 100 carries.

Sophomore Tavien Feaster tied with Etienne for the team lead at 103 carries, rushing for 659 yards and seven touchdowns. He posted the biggest run of Clemson’s season — figuratively and literally — at NC State, busting free for an 89-yard touchdown to turn a 24-21 lead into a 31-21 edge, a critical score in an eventual 38-31 win over a ranked Wolfpack club. Feaster was also a factor in the passing game, hauling in 10 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.

In addition to Etienne and Feaster, Adam Choice carried 62 times for 312 yards and six touchdowns, and C.J. Fuller rushed 58 times for 217 yards and three scores.

With the help of quarterback Kelly Bryant’s 11 scores, Clemson tied for fourth nationally with 40 rushing touchdowns. The Tigers tied for 36th nationally with 74 runs of 10-plus yards, ranked 10th in third down conversions at 46.73 percent, and placed ninth with touchdowns on 75.51 percent of their red zone opportunities.

Elliott also serves as Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator, and as a team the Tigers average 448.2 yards per game, 5.96 a play and rank 21st in the nation at 35.4 points per game.

Clemson will meet Alabama in a College Football Playoff semifinal at the Sugar Bowl.

Elliott was a co-captain as a wide receiver on Clemson’s 2003 team, and entered the business world after earning a degree in industrial engineering in 2002. He returned to college football as an assistant at South Carolina State in 2006, then spent three seasons as the wide receivers coach at Furman from 2008-10. He joined Dabo Swinney’s staff in 2011 — Swinney coached Elliott during his playing days — where he has produced five 1,000-yard rushers and seven 10-win seasons.

Elliott also won the Broyles Award earlier this month.

The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Louis Ayeni [Iowa State], Ron Gould [Stanford], Jeff Horton [San Diego State], Tim Horton [Auburn], Charles Huff [Penn State], John Settle [Wisconsin] and Elliott) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year’s winner.

Elliott will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.

Previous winners of the Running Backs Coach of the Year award are Burton Burns (Alabama, 2008), Willie Taggart (Stanford, 2009), Jim Mastro (Nevada, 2010), Frank Wilson (LSU, 2011), Calvin Magee (Arizona, 2012), Jeff Lebby (Baylor, 2013), Bryan McClendon (Georgia, 2014), Lance Taylor (Stanford, 2015) and Jeff Horton (San Diego State, 2016).


6th Nationally – QB Rating           Highest-rated true freshman since ’08
6th Nationally – Yards Per Attempt           SEC champions

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.