Hugs from his Brother

Hugs Etienne saw firsthand how academics can ruin an up-and-coming athlete's college career. Now, with the help of his brother, Etienne is making a solid impact on the field and the classroom, and BCS schools are starting to take notice.

MADISON - In South Florida, there is no shortage of athletes to look up to. Whether those players are in the pros, playing in college or being heavily recruited, each up-and-coming athlete that is aspiring to achieve greater heights has someone that they latch on to.

South Plantation (Fla.) cornerback Hugs Etienne has one of those players, and he's fortunate that the player has lived under the same roof.

Evenson Etienne was solid cornerback at Stranahan HS in Fort Lauderdale in 2006, but didn't take the academic portion as seriously as he needed to in order to attract college offers. He ended up going to Florida A&M for a few years, only to come back down to the south to make sure Hugs was on the right track.

"My older brother has been through a lot," Hugs Etienne told Badger Nation. "He made that mistake in high school, so he's been on me to make sure that it doesn't happen to me. He's pushed me to make sure my grades are on point."

The move has seemingly paid off. Not only did Etienne registered 30 tackles and three picks his junior season, he finished the year with a 3.6 grade point average.

"He's been leading me through, and he's giving me the tools to make it work," Etienne said. "We work out, take me to the park and make sure that I get better so I don't go through what he went through. It feels great when coaches compliment me on my academics because that's all because of him."

Sitting on offers from Bowling Green and Florida Atlantic for a long time, the 5-foot-10, 155-pound cornerback has gotten some big ones at the end of the spring evaluation period, picking up an offer from Northern Illinois on Wednesday and his first BCS offer from Wisconsin over the weekend.

"It means a lot because I have been waiting for a big offer like that for a long time," Etienne said of the Wisconsin offer. "It means a lot to me."

Being recruiting by co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge, Partridge studied Etienne during a recent practice.

"He told me that he really liked what he'd seen, and we've really been talking a lot since then" Etienne said. "I was a little surprised by the offer. What I really know about Wisconsin … I asked him about the engineering program because that's what I am interested in, and he told me that it's one of the best in the country. I looked at it online and it makes me really interested in them. Math is my favorite subject, so I really like it."

In addition to Wisconsin, Florida State, LSU, Miami and Rutgers are the other BCS schools showing interest. Etienne went on a limb in saying he believes the Hurricanes may be the next school to offer, seeing as he went to the school's summer camp over the weekend and felt he delivered a solid performance.

Miami hasn't been shy about offering cornerbacks with Wisconsin interest who performed well at its camp, as the Hurricanes offered and received a verbal from American Senior cornerback Larry Hope Wednesday.

Although Etienne has a close relationship with his family, Etienne said distance wouldn't play a big factor in his decision. He also cited that Wisconsin having 14 Florida players on its 2012 roster would be a comforting factor.

"I want to go where it fits me and my brother agrees with me," Etienne said. "To me, it's wherever is the best fit for me. I like that they have Florida kids, so I'd be comfortable knowing kids that are from where I am from."

After a couple weeks of spring football, Etienne is hoping to schedule unofficial visits to Bowling Green and Wisconsin, as well as camps at Florida State and another camp on the campus of Stetson.

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