Photo Credit: Zach Goodall
The Florida Gators 2022 recruiting class is really just getting started under head coach Billy Napier.
After snagging nine players during the early signing period, Napier is ready to land multiple other players on National Signing Day, and part of that class could include Trevor Etienne, a standout running back out of Jennings (La.), right in Napier's former backyard.
Following the Adidas All-American game practice on Wednesday, AllGators spoke to Etienne to learn a bit more about what he's thinking, set to make a decision between three teams — LSU, Florida and Clemson — on Saturday during the game itself.
"I've been waiting on this for a long time," Etienne said on Wednesday. "I knew I wanted to commit at the game. So kind of like a relief, really, and it's a dream come true at the same time."
Etienne understands this process intimately. His brother, Travis Etienne, went through the same thing in 2017 when he committed to play at Clemson and is now in the NFL, drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
His message to the younger Etienne was simple: Just be true to yourself.
"You know, don't do something based off of what someone else did or has a say so in," Trevor said of what his brother 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."
A 40-year decision, something that will travel with him for the rest of his life, choosing the right school to not only play for but also learn from is difficult for anyone, let alone someone who wants to turn his football-playing ability into an actual career at the professional level.
But, Etienne understands just that and knows that each school he currently is deciding from will bring him plenty of what he needs. At LSU and Clemson, Etienne says, the family-oriented program at both schools is intriguing. Specifically, at LSU, the alumni making their way back to campus regularly, helps.
As for Florida, Etienne already has ties to the school. Florida running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, who coached with Napier at ULL over the past four seasons, recruited his older brother previously. He also knows Napier from the conversations he's had over the phone and in person.
"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," said Etienne. "Just keep building that relationship."
But, something that is important for Etienne is education, and Florida is one of the best to choose from.
"The education, there? That's [the] top school in the education, so that's something that'll help me in the long run."
The Gators do not currently have an RB signed in its 2022 recruiting class, and it's very likely they'll want to bring at least one on with Malik Davis and Dameon Pierce making their way to the NFL.
Davis has already officially declared for the 2022 NFL Draft, while Pierce has yet to make that decision official, has already accepted a bid to play in the Senior Bowl later this year.
Perhaps Florida will be able to do that by bringing Etienne into the fold. That's certainly somewhere the standout RB could see himself in the not-so-distant future.
"I love the vision that they have for the program," he said. "It's definitely something that I see myself being a part of. That's just somewhere I would see myself going."
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