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RB Trevor Etienne Commits to the Florida Gators

The Florida Gators pull a running back out of The Bayou, landing a commitment from Jennings (La.) running back Trevor Etienne.

A monumental step forward was taken in Florida's recruiting efforts.

The Florida Gators have closed on their first high school running back since 2019, with Jennings, La. prospect Trevor Etienne announcing his commitment Saturday.

Participating in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Etienne has been one of the prominent uncommitted individuals to watch throughout the event.

"I knew I wanted to commit at the game," Etienne told AllGators after practice on Wednesday. "So kind of like a relief, really, and it's a dream come true at the same time."

Previously announcing his top three of Florida, LSU and Clemson, Etienne narrowed down his list from 23 offers on Nov. 29, allowing him time to mull over the difficult decision.

Producing three variations of NFT cards of him repping the threads of each of his top three schools, Etienne took a unique and modernized approach to his recruitment process. He capitalized on the opportunities now provided to collegiate athletes by doing so.

As the brother of former Clemson standout and a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Travis Etienne, there was speculation that he would follow in his sibling's footsteps to join the Tigers in South Carolina. 

Likewise, as Clemson provided family history, LSU provided proximity to home, seemingly putting the Gators in the backseat for his talents to the Tigers (times two).

However, his brother gave him some tricks of the trade when it came to making his final decision as someone who has gone through the process.

Tip number one: Make your own decision.

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"You know, don't do something based off of what someone else did or has a say so in," Trevor said Travis told him. "I'm the one that has to live with this decision. And this is a 40-year decision, not a four-year decision. So, this is something you have to live with for the rest of your life."

Intrigued by the Gators during the reign of the previous regime, Florida kept the door open long enough for new head coach Billy Napier and running backs Jabbar Juluke to walk inside and close it. Coming over from Louisiana, Napier and Juluke were able to pick up their relationship with the high-caliber rusher that previously resided in their backyard.

"I'm 30 minutes from there, so I was there a lot, you know, getting to know him over the phone and in-person like just talking," Etienne said. "Just keep building that relationship."

That paid dividends in the end, as they pulled Etienne away from the two schools he had the most connection to, outlasting Swinney and LSU head coach Brian Kelly for his services.

"I love the vision that they have for the program," he said about the University of Florida. "It's definitely something that I see myself being a part of."

Etienne will join Demarkcus Bowman, NayQuan Wright and Lorenzo Lingard Florida's backfield upon arrival. However, he likely won't be the last addition, as the Gators scour the transfer portal for potential upgrades.

The newest Gators commit is scheduled to visit Gainesville on the star-studded Jan. 14 weekend.

Below you can find a brief synopsis of what Etienne will bring to the table in orange and blue – in addition to his deceiving speed at 5-foot-9, 218 pounds – from SI All-American.

Trevor Etienne, the younger brother of Clemson legend Travis Etienne, is already bigger than the NFLer and plays that way. Prep defenders just look small near his filled-out frame and look worse when combatting his downhill style.

Stay tuned to AllGators for continuous coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow along on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and Florida Gators on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.