From burrito commercials to mama’s home cooking, the Etienne siblings
David Hale, ESPN
- Personnel WriterOct 27, 2023, 07:00 AM ET Close ACC reporter.Joined ESPN in 2012.
- Graduate of the University of Delaware.JACKSONVILLE, Fla.– The only
time they’ve seen each other face-to-face in current months was over burrito bowls.This feels entirely incorrect for Travis and Trevor Etienne, siblings
separated by only about an hour’s drive, however likewise by professions that require almost all of their time. Typically, when they remain in close proximity, it is within orbit of their mother’s kitchen, where there’s constantly a real, home-cooked, authentically Cajun meal waiting– smothered pork chops with corn and rice for Travis or turkey necks with mustard greens with ham hock for Trevor. There’s no place the Etienne brothers would rather be than crowded around Donnetta Etienne’s table. However this meetup wasn’t about the food. It was company: a business shoot for Chipotle, starring big brother Travis, an emerging NFL star for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and little brother Trevor, an emerging SEC star for the Florida Gators.The script goes like this: Trevor is running through football drills. Travis is nearby, yelling recommendations, critiquing each move, timing each action. Trevor reacts, once again and once again, with an exasperated,”Bro?” Then the set retires to Chipotle, where Trevor places his order– a bowl with chicken, white rice, cheese and lettuce– which Travis right away compliments as the perfect selection.It is marketing. It is also an authentic window into their relationship.Flash back to Trevor’s senior season at Jennings High in 2021. He was coming off a leg injury that required surgery and overthrew his
sophomore project. He was tentative, anxious about intensifying the injury.
Travis was on the sideline for the game.” Bro?”Travis yelled. “You going to stop playing soft or what?”Flash back to 2022, Travis ‘second season with the Jags. He was having fumble problems, putting the ball on the ground two times in 3 games. In
the locker space before his next contest, Travis got his phone and saw a text from his little bro.”Brother, “it read. “2 hands on the ball.” Constantly there for brother @Trevor_Etienne (whether he wants me to or not )On the field and at @Chipotletweets #chipotlepartner pic.twitter.com/gTgM7Kryi5!.?.!— Travis Etienne Jr ⁶ (@swaggy_t1 )October 10, 2023 This is how it’s been their whole lives. Travis as coach, Trevor as protégé; Travis as possibility, Trevor as critic. They did it on the playground; on
the basketball courts down the roadway from your home where they matured; through numerous
miles of distance in between Jennings, Louisiana, and Clemson, South Carolina; and now, in front of the electronic cameras for a burrito company.They never ever dreamed they ‘d be here, Travis said– well-known and cams rolling. But this was part of the plan, a strategy to remain real to their roots, to stick together at all costs, and to constantly watch out for each other. “It’s insane to see people thinking about us, and we’re just being ourselves, “Travis said.”It’s just cool to see where
football has actually taken us.” Trevor Etienne has 3 touchdowns on the season up until now. Andy Lyons/Getty Images HOW FAR HAS football
taken the Etienne brothers?They began in Jennings, Louisiana– population 9,837– as big fish in a little pond. It’s the kind of location where roots run deep and few roads lead to someplace better.Sports were Donnetta’s method of keeping her kids far from the seedier components of town.” We kind of sheltered them from the drugs and alcohol and gangs,”Donnetta stated.
“You finish practice and school, you’re tired. So we did a three-sport home for each kid, and that kept them off the streets, kept them rooted and grounded in their books. It was a good formula. “Travis was a super star from the first time he touched a football, running for five touchdowns in his first Pee Wee game.Trevor was the chubby kid who followed in Travis’footsteps– “the frustrating little bro he was always trying to get rid of,”Trevor said.Trevor is 6 years more youthful than Travis. He’s the more outbound of the 2 and aspires to speak his mind. Travis is a cutup in small groups of close friends or around Donnetta’s house with family, however in public, he primarily keeps peaceful. Trevor, on the other hand, has a ready-made line for all celebrations. James Estes, who functioned as offensive
coordinator at Jennings High during both bros’ time there, keeps in mind Trevor showing up late for practice one day. He viewed as Trevor made his way throughout the practice field, Estes waiting to dress him down.Editor’s Picks 2 Related”Where have you been?” Estes yelled.Trevor shook his head. “Coach,” he said, “you won’t think it. Bigfoot got me, and he took my cars and truck.”The entire group break out laughing. How could Estes be mad now?”You knew he ‘d been thinking of that for the 20 minutes it had actually taken him to get to practice,”Estes said.When he was young, Travis hated having his little bro constantly in tow. He ‘d leave the house to play with friends, and Trevor would slip out behind him, popping out of the shadows at the appropriate time to join the older kids.Eventually, however, Travis saw the advantage of having a teammate
with him everywhere he went. Travis was tall and lean and lightning fast and a playground legend around Jennings. Trevor, on the other hand, was little and unassuming, easy to neglect. He was Travis’secret weapon.”Everybody constantly underestimated him, but he was constantly the very best one,” Travis stated.” I ‘d constantly pick him first, and we ‘d always win
.”Still, the narrative persisted: There was Travis, and there was Travis ‘little sibling. This isn’t a matter of dispute, both guys firmly insist. They never cared. However the dynamic had a way of taking roles for each.Travis was the pioneer
, the kid who was destined to find his way to someplace beyond Jennings. He had so much natural ability as a runner, he couldn’t stop working, but much of his development into a well-rounded player came over experimentation. Previous Clemson colleague Darien Rencher remembers practices when the Tigers’personnel tried to utilize Travis as a slot receiver, and he didn’t even know how to enter a position at the line of scrimmage. It took him years to fine-tune that capability before he progressed into among the much better receivers out of the backfield.Trevor witnessed his share of those practices on visits
to Clemson. He got the message loud and clear that, to be a running back in the NFL, he ‘d need to do more than run.
“Trevor showed up for [a recruiting] camp at Clemson, maybe his sophomore year,” Rencher stated,”and he’s out there running legitimate routes. We joked with Travis, like, dang your little bro discovered by doing this before you did. “Trevor wasn’t as naturally talented as his older bro, however the lessons imparted by Travis provided him a plan that allowed him to flourish, too, and, in lots of methods, bloom into a much better all-around player at an earlier age than Travis.Travis’success was predestined. Trevor’s success was computed.
“Trevor had a cheat code, “Rencher said.”He had a front-row seat to simply absorb whatever Travis might not have actually even known he was given– all that experience and knowledge and competence.”But the benefits flowed in both directions. Understanding his younger brother was enjoying was always the push Travis required to keep improving his game and, possibly more importantly, to take each step far from the field carefully, intentionally. Even his surprising choice to go back to Clemson for his senior season, he said, was made in part to show Trevor the worth of a degree, of completing a task once it’s begun.”I feel like it put pressure on him,” Trevor said.
“Whatever he does is magnified since I’m seeing. He needed to be his finest
at every minute to ensure I’m doing the best things. “Trevor enjoyed, so Travis worked.Travis was successful, so Trevor followed.”They would constantly compete with each other,”Estes said.”
They pressed each other more difficult than any of us could ever push them.”It wasn’t by style precisely, however it showed to be the perfect blueprint.TRAVIS DOMINATED throughout his time at Jennings. He went to college at Clemson, where he won a national title and sculpted his name into the ACC record books, setting the conference mark for hurrying yards and goals, and an NCAA record by scoring a touchdown in 46 career games. Then he was picked in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. This year, he is among just 2 running backs in the NFL with 500 backyards and seven touchdowns through 7 games.Trevor, too, was a star runner at Jennings, where
he was perhaps a more versatile back than his older bro, even filling in
at QB as a senior after the team’s starter was hurt. Trevor finished his high school career with almost 2,500 hurrying backyards and 34 touchdowns, earning scholarship offers from throughout the country.When Travis was at Clemson
, Trevor would make the journey from Louisiana every chance he got. He frantically wished to stay near to his older brother, and the range back then, he stated, really brought them closer together. It required them to cherish the time they invested with each other. However Trevor chose Florida not since it was close to his bro’s NFL home, but because it was separate from Travis’own path. It was a possibility for Trevor to set out on his own, to create a story that was less epilogue to the Travis Etienne story and more an early chapter of the Trevor Etienne journey. “I informed my bro to go any place you wish to go,” Travis stated.”But I told him no Clemson. I desired him to carve out being his own man, and I felt like he was an SEC running back.”Trevor never ever chafed at his bro’s long shadow, he said. At home, he was always his own guy, Donnetta said. He got “Trevor criticism, not Travis criticism
.”However fact is, Trevor liked being compared to Travis. After games at Jennings, he ‘d text Travis with his stat line, an obstacle to huge sibling to match those numbers on Saturday. Donetta Etienne calls her 74-mile drive between her children “The Swamp to the Bank.”Donnetta Etienne”No matter what I do, I’ll still be his little bro, “Trevor said. “However I took a look at it as someone to look up to. Him setting all those records was simply pushing me, revealing me what might be done. “For his part, Travis enjoyed to defer praise.
He does not like speaking about himself, however get him on the subject of Trevor’s football exploits and he can’t help however gush.” He ‘d always make comments that Trevor was actually better
than he was,” former Clemson running backs coach Tony Elliott said.Ultimately, Trevor landed in the SEC, at Florida. Earlier this season, he ran for 173 backyards and a touchdown in an upset win over Tennessee. On Saturday, he’ll bet Georgia (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)in his big brother’s home grass in Jacksonville. In the Gators ‘loss there last year, Trevor
scored a touchdown.”It was like,’I got a goal in huge brother’s house,'” Donnetta said.”So I’m hoping we get 2 touchdowns in big brother’s home [this year] It suggests whatever to him to touch big bro’s end line.”IT’S 74 MILES from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville to
EverBank Arena in Jacksonville– “The Swamp to the Bank, “as Donnetta calls her weekly journey– however it’s amusing how far that can seem in the middle of the buzz of daily life. Normally, the brothers bridge the
distance via the household group text or a home-cooked meal provided by Donnetta in a cooler.Donnetta is in Florida now, too. She likes to prepare on Wednesdays, understanding it suits Travis ‘practice schedule to come by for a meal that night. Travis as soon as noted throughout a media session at Clemson that he ‘d included nearly 8 pounds in 8 days by bingeing on Popeye’s chicken throughout a see home for spring break. He loves to eat, and so when Donnetta cooks, he stakes his claim.
Travis cleans his plate, then insists on another assisting due to the fact that he understands any leftovers get left in the ice box for a trip to Gainesville.Then Friday, Donnetta reaches Florida with a meal for Trevor, which constantly feels a bit light. “And I inform him it’s since your crybaby brother imitates I give you whatever, “Donnetta said.”They’ll be fighting for the meat right out the pot. “There’s only a lot catfish or ribs or chicken-fried steak to go around. That’s worth the fight. But the Etiennes have actually never seen success or fame or legacy as a zero-sum game. Living the dream was possible only if both bros were a part of it.This is the
whole point. Success for the Etiennes isn’t some far-off point when their professions are established and their bank accounts flush and their family protected for generations. It’s the journey they’re on, a journey that would be utterly exhausting alone however is rather a genuine adventure together.There’s a little recommendations Travis when imparted to Trevor that’s constantly stuck to the younger Etienne:” He informed me not to stress over leaving a legacy,”Trevor said,”but to live a legacy.”But recently, Travis has actually been giving some believed to aging
. He’ll be 25 in January, a number that puts him in the prime of his life but in some way seems preposterous to him.
Last year, he hosted Christmas for the entire family at his house. Donnetta cooked, and they all used matching pajamas and watched Christmas motion pictures
. It was like old times, except that Travis was now the focal point– a grown male with a job, a home and a life that his whole household has actually invested in, too. His good friends state he can still act like a kid in the best context, however because moment, it became clear to him: He’s grown
up.Where did the time go? It’s really seeing Trevor play that makes him feel– not old, per se, but developed. Back at Jennings and at Clemson, he resided in the moment. The journey was one foot in front of the other, with everyday calls or texts to Trevor, who mapped each step for later use. Now, Travis sees his brother following
that course at Florida, and it’s a bit like a time capsule. It’s just when Trevor does it that Travis ‘own journey feels real, that the details sink in and he can keep in mind simply how difficult and tiring and thrilling everything was.After they ‘d finished shooting the industrial, their representative, Sam Leaf Ireifej, called Donnetta in the house. On the set, Travis had shed his typically reserved demeanor and was instead breaking jokes and chuckling loudly. “I saw a different side of Travis, “Ireifej said.Donnetta smiled. She’s heard this before.”Well, of course,”she informed him.”He was with Trevor.”