It’s safe to say that Louisiana native Travis Etienne will be a popular guy amongst his Clemson teammates in the days and weeks leading up to the Sugar Bowl.
Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant was meeting with the media on Wednesday and was asked about his eating plans for New Orleans when he spotted Etienne in the room.
“That’s my man. I’m going to be with Travis the whole time so he can tell me what to eat and what not to eat,” Bryant shouted. “It’s my first time going to New Orleans, so I’m excited. I always heard about the seafood and gumbo and all that stuff, so I’m ready to get some good food down there.”
Etienne, who is Clemson’s leading rusher, was hoping to play in the Rose Bowl in California so that he could experience a new place instead of playing in his home state. But he is also embracing the opportunity to show his teammates around a city with which he is very familiar.
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“I will be advising everybody on what they should get and where they should go,” he said.
Etienne’s favorite restaurant is Mother’s, a place that has been open since 1938 and that claims to have the world’s best baked ham.
But whether you eat at Mother’s or any of the many famous restaurants in New Orleans, Etienne says you can’t go wrong.
“Anywhere you go, you’ll like it,” he said. “That’s what I think. You’ll like anywhere you go.”
Even though he was hoping to experience something different, Etienne is still excited to be returning to his home state and playing in the Superdome, the home of the New Orleans Saints.
The Superdome is also home to the Louisiana high school state football championships.
Etienne never got the opportunity to play there during his time at Jennings High but will get the chance to now.
“It’s just all surreal. It hasn’t really dawned on me yet,” Etienne said. “It’s like, I’m a year in the process. You don’t really notice what you’re doing, but afterwards, I guess it’ll really just hit me, and I’m just really kind of focusing on all of that.”
Etienne has several family members and friends that are searching for tickets to the game so that they can watch him play in person after following him on TV throughout the year. His mom is in charge of handling those ticket requests.
The freshman has admitted to being homesick at times this season and is eager to meet up with friends and relatives for a reunion in Louisiana.
“It’s always great to be back home. I haven’t been there, since like, forever,” he said. “So I’m definitely going to enjoy getting to see my family, getting to play in the Superdome. Growing up, I always wanted to play there. Never got the chance in high school, but now I get that chance. It’s just crazy how everything works out.”