NSD: Physical Hugs

Don't let Hugs Etienne's name fool you with how the freshman likes to play the game. An aggressive cornerback, Etienne plans to take the next semester building himself into a physical cornerback

MADISON - His first name is Hugsley, but his family and friends affectionately call him ‘Hugs.' The name may some cute, but there is nothing affectionate about Hugs Etienne's game.

"He's aggressive," UW coach Bret Bielema said. "He's able to come up and react. He's got great instincts and really does a nice job at the line of scrimmage."

Imagine how good he'll be with an extra semester under his belt. Etienne was one of three members of Wisconsin's 2012 recruiting class to enroll a semester early, and arguably has the biggest adjustment of the three to go through.

While offensive guard Dan Voltz and running back Vonte Jackson both living within two hours from campus, Etienne is coming from just outside Miami in a home where English is the second language.

"At first, I didn't really speak English very well," said Etienne, as Haitian is the family's native language. "As time went on, you learn to speak it."

He's hoping that same philosophy happens with his football career. In four years at South Plantation HS, Etienne (pronounced EN-T-EN) recorded 88 tackles, six interceptions and seven forced fumbles, impressive numbers considering South Florida teams rarely challenge him his senior year.

At 5-11 and 170 pounds, Bielema hinted that Etienne likely will need some time to develop, all the more benefit to him being on campus

"I'm kind of small right now, so I am up here trying to develop and put some size on myself hopefully," said Etienne. "It's a whole lot different than high school. It's nothing like high school. High school you are in the weight room lifting, but it's not as advanced as it is now. It's more serious here. You've got to get it done."

Etienne was Wisconsin's fifth commitment in the recruiting class, and was unique in the fact that he committed without having stepped foot on campus. Getting a scholarship offer in the spring, Etienne got all the information he needed on how special the offer was when he started cruising the Internet.

"When I first received the offer, I did a whole bunch of research and I came to find out the school had one of the best engineering programs in the country," Etienne said. "That really made me feel good."

The other benefactor to his decision picking Wisconsin over Kansas, Wake Forest and West Virginia among others was the fact that co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge was one of the first BCS coaches to watch him work last spring. It also helped that despite the massive changeover of UW's staff, Etienne didn't lose his recruiting contact (Partridge) or his position coach (Chris Ash).

"Coach Partridge talked to my parents and I felt good with coach," Etienne said. "My parents, everybody loves Coach Partridge and Coach Ash. They talk to them a lot. They really like them. I like them."

Coming on to campus in mid January, Etienne experienced snow for the first time. When he's watching Wisconsin defensive schemes and concepts, everything so far is familiar.

"I've been watching a lot of film, going over it with the coaches and the players and they've been teaching me a lot," said Etienne. "Most of the stuff we ran out of high school, so it's really not that difficult right now."

Hugs Etienne -

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