Dan Mullen and Gators create significant buzz after on-campus recruiting event
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Recruits react positively to Great Gator Grill-Out
Florida welcomed an impressive list of highly touted recruits on campus over the weekend for its first Great Gator Grill-Out, which allowed prospects to mingle with the coaching staff in a laid-back event focused on leaving a positive impression and building connections.
The Gators did not land an announced commitment yet from the event, but feedback from the recruits who attended has been strong.
William Putnam, a 4-star guard from Tampa, Fla., was one of four top-100 recruits (as per the 247Sports composite) to visit. He appreciated the nature of the recruiting event.
“It was definitely more of a family environment more than it was a recruiting deal,” Putnam told SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi. “Football wasn’t really discussed too much. It was just kind of about having a good time, eating good food, hanging out with the coaches. It was really fun. I got water all over me from the water balloons.
“It was really nice, especially at a time like this where a lot of guys in my own class are starting to kind of commit and everyone’s starting to find a place for them. It was refreshing just being able to relax. I was able to see the personalities of the coaches and that plays into the decision. It’s not just all about football, in the end. There’s a lot more to it.”
- Abolverdi has more on the response from Florida’s weekend visitors
- Jahleel Billingsley, a 4-star tight end from Chicago, named Florida his leader
- Defensive end Nathan Pickering, a top 50 overall prospect from Mississippi, said ‘Florida is far, but it’s worth it’
Meanwhile, a few recruits received some backlash while flashing “The U” for Miami while visiting Florida in a video that made the rounds on social media.
Florida players Kadarius Toney and Iverson Clement, in particular, took offense on Twitter, believing the move was disrespectful.
St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) teammates Jaden Davis, a 4-star Class of 2019 cornerback, and Class of 2020 linebacker/tight end Derek Wingo later posted apologies on Twitter, seemingly smoothing over the matter.
I would like to apologize to Gator Nation and the coaching staff for this weekend’s incident. It was an immature mistake. It was a moment with a friend and by no means my intent to disrespect the Florida Gators. I have a ton of respect for the program and all of Gainesville.
— W1NG0 (@DerekWingo) May 20, 2018
We would like to apologize to @GatorsFB @CoachDanMullen for Mike Harley’s recent post. He is our former teammate and we didn’t intend to disrespect Gator Nation. It was a tasteless mistake.We have the upmostrespect for the Florida Gators and the city of Gainesville.
— IV (@Jayd4_) May 20, 2018
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In Florida football news
- SEC Country’s Recruiting Rewind series continued with a closer look at how the Gators kept 4-star tight end Kyle Pitts recruited through the coaching change last fall. A former Florida coach and the last coach hired to Dan Mullen’s staff were instrumental in this recruitment. Read the full story here.
Florida softball rolls on to NCAA Super Regionals
- After losing to Florida on Saturday, Ohio State rallied back in the NCAA Gainesville Regional to force a rematch with the Gators, but senior Aleshia Ocasio didn’t give the Buckeyes much of a chance Sunday. Ocasio pitched a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts and also knocked in 2 runs in Florida’s 4-0 win to send the Gators to the NCAA Super Regionals. Read more here.
Florida baseball endures rough weekend
- After not losing more than two straight games all season, No. 1 Florida has now dropped four in a row, including being swept by Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., over the weekend. The Gators (41-15, 20-10 SEC) had won every other conference series this season and 19 straight series dating back to 2017. See what coach Kevin O’Sullivan said as he tries to get his team refocused in the SEC Tournament this week.
Elsewhere in the NCAA postseason …
- The Florida men’s tennis team reached the Elite 8 before falling to Texas A&M 4-3 on Sunday. Read more here.
- The Gators women’s lacrosse team also reached the quarterfinals, losing to James Madison 11-8 on Saturday. Read more here.
What they’re saying on Twitter
- Florida tight end C’yontai Lewis shared another highlight from the Great Gator Grill-Out event:
— C'yontai Lewis (@idunklewis) May 20, 2018
- Florida’s across-the-board success has long been its hallmark:
— Florida Gators (@FloridaGators) May 20, 2018
- Florida softball star Kelly Barnhill shares praise for her teammates, especially fellow star in the circle, Ocasio:
I have some pretty amazing teammates💙🐊🧡 https://t.co/G84o6FcJLY
— Kelly Barnhill (@kkatlyn111) May 21, 2018
- Gators cornerback C.J. Henderson isn’t in agreement with this preseason projection:
L o l https://t.co/G1FOZk2BIu
— Chris Henderson Jr. (@HendersonChris_) May 18, 2018
The perception that Florida has had a dip in talent has made its way to preseason magazines. Lindy’s All-SEC only has four Gators. I don’t even agree with Ivey being first team OL.
Hopefully, this looks different in the postseason. pic.twitter.com/2MNZks60vD
— David Waters (@GatorDave_SEC) May 17, 2018
- Another impressive stat for the Gators …
— Florida Gators (@FloridaGators) May 18, 2018
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