Florida's Trevor Etienne signs NIL deal with Gataverse, releases collectible

On3 imageby:Pete Nakos08/31/23


Paul Finebaum Predicts the Utah-Florida Showdown

Trevor Etienne earned playing time immediately last season.

The former four-star prospect did not rush his commitment, waiting until early January 2022 to decide on Florida. But once on campus in Gainesville, he turned heads and earned carries in the Gators’ running back room.

Etienne finished with the fourth most rushing yards by a true freshman tailback in school history. Now in his second year, he’s expected to form one of the most underrated running back duos in the country with Montrell Johnson Jr.

Ahead of Thursday night’s season opener at Utah, Etienne has inked an NIL deal with the OpenLocker fan community Gataverse. A proprietary NFT platform, the company uses blockchain technology to create authentic athletes’ digital collectibles.

The sophomore has his own limited edition collectible with Gataverse, which also serves as proof of membership for the community. Priced at $77, the autographed card grants access to a meet-and-greet with the younger brother of Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne.

On top of getting a chance to meet Etienne, fans who purchase the card will receive a 20% discount at Bleu Bird Wings. For every time he scores two touchdowns in a Florida win, cardholders can stop by the Gainesville restaurant for seven wings, fries and a drink. The seven is an ode to the running back’s jersey number.

“The Trevor Etienne Collection represents the next level of NIL which is designed to drive fan engagement with real-world utility tied to athlete performance,” Gataverse community manager Matt Ulino said in a statement. “We’ve already seen how excited Gator fans are to get something tangible and meet their favorite athlete at an event. Local merchants like Bleu Bird will bring the Gataverse community together by creating opportunities for fans to earn rewards and experiences.”

Launched this past February, the Gataverse has released collectibles with members of the men’s basketball and women’s gymnastics teams. Buying an NFT allows fans to access rewards and experiences linked with the athlete. Plans are in place to release a member rewards card next month.

OpenLocker operates other Bone Yard Huskyz Club at UConn and Maddy Baddyz at Wisconsin.

“Partnering with Bleu Bird Wings to reward my fans will make this coming season even more exciting,” Etienne said in a statement. “OpenLocker’s innovative approach offers a one-of-kind experience for Gator Nation to celebrate athletes and their winning performances on and off the field.”

Trevor Etienne’s growing NIL brand

Etienne and Johnson were one of only three duos last season to eclipse 700 yards apiece and average over 5.4 yards per carry. Thursday night on ESPN they’ll get their shot at building off of that. While Florida went out and added former Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz from the transfer portal, Billy Napier’s offense in Year 2 will be run-heavy.

The 5-foot-9, 205-pound tailback from Jennings, Louisiana, will play a large role. Working closely with Sam Leaf at the Ballengee Group, he’s started to build out an NIL portfolio, too. He partnered with GAMEDAY Products last year and has signed with the Gator-driven NIL collective Florida Victorious.

Etienne has built a major brand with nearly 70,000 social media followers. He also has a $439,000 On3 NIL Valuation, which ranks in the top 100 of the college football NIL rankings.

The On3 NIL Valuation is the industry’s leading index that sets the standard market NIL value for high school and college athletes. A proprietary algorithm, the On3 NIL Valuation calculates an athlete’s NIL value using dynamic data points targeting three primary categories: performance, influence and exposure.

About On3 NIL Valuation, Brand Value, Roster Value

While the algorithm includes deal data, it does not act as a tracker of the value of NIL deals athletes have completed to date, nor does it set an athlete’s NIL valuation for their entire career. The On3 NIL Valuation calculates the optimized NIL opportunity for athletes relative to the overall NIL market and projects out to as long as 12 months into the future.