Florida football: Trevor Etienne enters transfer portal as Gators lose star offensive playmaker

By OnlyGators.com Staff
December 7, 2023
Florida football: Trevor Etienne enters transfer portal as Gators lose star offensive playmaker

Image Credit: UAA

The Florida Gators’ path to improvement next season was dealt a massive blow Thursday as sophomore running back Trevor Etienne — arguably the star playmaker on the offensive side of the ball — decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal. Etienne’s decision appeared to be a long time coming with rumors of his departure from the program existing since the end of the 2023 season.

Etienne, a former four-star prospect in the Class of 2022 who was an immediate standout as a true freshman, has been an electric playmaker for the Gators out of the backfield the last two years. He has averaged 5.9 yards per carry across those seasons, racking up 1,472 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns despite splitting his carries with junior RB Montrell Johnson Jr. Etienne lead the team in touchdowns (eight) and yards per carry (5.7) this season.

While Etienne was more of a consistent threat than Johnson with the ball in his hands, Johnson remained Florida’s starter for all but one game over the last two seasons. Etienne got the first touch against Florida State in UF’s season finale, though he got hurt in the game and was ultimately outtouched by Johnson 18-13.

Most believed Johnson continuously getting the nod over Etienne was due to a combination of seniority and pass blocking ability; however, Johnson was certainly effective with the ball in his hands, too.

Still, Etienne had four games this season with single-digit carries and only three games with 15+ carries; he was never used as a bell-cow running back like his brother, Travis Etienne, was at Clemson.

Travis has publicly on Twitter — and surely privately in their personal lives — been in Trevor’s ear about his lack of touches and Florida’s lack of on-field success. Trevor did not provide a specific reason as to why he is transferring from the program when announcing his decision Thursday.

Losing Etienne is a major blow on the surface due to his immense playmaking ability and star power. However, the Gators do have returning talent at the position, and they will surely be active adding another player. Running back, while a position that touches the ball plenty, is generally easier to replace than other offensive positions like quarterback and wide receiver.

None of it is a good look for Florida, which is trying to make strides entering Year 3 under head coach Billy Napier, who is 11-14 in his first two campaigns. The Gators have now lost arguably their top offensive and top defensive playmakers to the portal — junior EDGE Princely Umanmielen entered on Wednesday but indicated he’d consider returning — with two of the top three and four of the top seven members of UF’s Class of 2022 now in the portal.

Napier also remains in a standstill trying to replace two recently fired assistants. Other long-anticipated coaching changes are potentially forthcoming on the offensive side of the ball, though no moves have been made publicly nearly two weeks since the conclusion of the season.

If Johnson returns, he will remain the starter in 2024 with freshman Treyaun Webb, a former four-star prospect, serving as the No. 2 back. Redshirt senior Cam Carroll, who was supposed to play this year as a transfer from Tulane, suffered a season-ending injury, would be the third running back. Three-star Kahnen Daniels (West Point, MS) is currently committed as part of the Class of 2024.

One Comment

Join The

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux