Etute is being held without bond at the Montgomery County Jail.
Blacksburg police said that officers conducting a welfare check at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday found a deceased man, identified as 40-year old Jerry Smith.
Investigators ruled the death a homicide and arrested Etute on Wednesday. Etute and Smith were acquaintances, according to police.
Virginia Tech said Wednesday that Etute had been immediately suspended from both the football team and the university.
"Blacksburg Police continues to lead this ongoing investigation, and the university will assist law enforcement agencies working the case in any way it can," the school said in a statement, according to ESPN's David M. Hale.
Etute committed to the Hokies last July and had been participating in spring practice as an early enrollee.