Travis Etienne’s first trip to Knoxville concluded Sunday afternoon.
The Scout four-star running back prospect out of Jennings (La.) High School left with nothing short of a “great” first impression during his official visit.
“I have (Tennessee) at the top right now with the atmosphere being just like a home environment,” the 5-foot-11, 199-pound running back said.
Something that especially stood out during Etienne's experience on Rocky Top was the family-like feel with the Vols’ coaching staff, especially with running backs coach Robert Gillespie, whom he speaks with “every day.”
“I talked to Gillespie a lot, and he mentioned to me that it’s the difference between going somewhere where they want you and somewhere where they need you,” Etienne said. “And just being around him was great. He’s a great guy. He’s very hype and I like the energy that he brings.”
Not only did the Scout 300 member spend time building relationships with the Orange & White coaching staff, but he was also able to spend valuable time bonding with Vol commits who had on their recruiting belts this weekend.
“I talked to Trey Smith a lot,” he said. “He was really just giving me the whole scheme of things and telling me what goes on, and how what you see is what you get. The coaches won’t change once you get there. I had a lot of recruits telling me that I should come there and everything.”
The No. 2 running back in the Pelican State mentioned his opportunity for early playing time as another attractive aspect about the Orange & White. Etienne sees potential playing alongside future Vols runner Ty Chandler.
“It’s a great opportunity to come in and play as a freshman," Etienne said. "It gives me a great opportunity to come and play and I feel that the organization is up on the rise.
“I feel like (me and Chandler) compliment each other. No school has that one running back thing anymore."
The No. 8-ranked back in the 2017 class might have headed back to his hometown Sunday, but Tennessee coach Butch Jones won’t be far behind for an in-home visit.
“Coach Butch should be coming this week,” Etienne said. “I’ll tell my mom to cook him something special and hopefully she’ll wow him with her cooking skills."
Tennessee currently lies in contention with three other schools at this point for the No. 3-ranked running back in the South: Clemson, LSU and Texas A&M.
His next stop is Clemson this coming weekend.
“I’ve been to (Texas A&M) a bunch of times. I’ve never been to Clemson," he said.
Though he maintains an open mind to his final four options, the speedster hopes to know his ultimate destination after spending the upcoming weekend in South Carolina.
“It’s a hard process,” he said. “Every school wants you. They’ll sell you the dream, tell you want you want to hear. You’ve just got to see through all of it and just pick the best place for you.”