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Dan Mullen on South Florida recruiting
Florida coach Dan Mullen had another speaking tour this week throughout the Sunshine State, including stops in Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
During his speech in Fort Lauderdale, former Gators offensive lineman Steven Bell (from Boca Raton) asked Mullen why the Gators haven’t had more recruiting success in Broward and Dade counties.
“I’ll be honest with you, when you look at our roster right now we actually have more kids from Broward and Dade on the roster now than when I was here from 2005-08,” Mullen said. “I think right now there’s actually more on the roster than when I was here before, so I think we are making progress in that way and I think we’ve just got to continue to do it. But you have to understand, you’re in a part of the country where players are going to leave.”
Mullen is right about the difference between this year’s roster and the teams he coached as Florida’s coordinator. From 2006-09, the Gators did not sign a single Miami recruit and just a handful from South Florida, albeit future NFL players Jon Bostic, Deonte Thompson, Janoris Jenkins and Major Wright.
The previous Florida coaches placed a big emphasis on South Florida recruiting, signing 10 prospects from the area in the 2017 class — the most in school history — and winning some big recruiting battles against rival Miami.
Mullen and his staff landed three South Florida players in the last cycle and will keep making the area a priority on the recruiting trail. However, he also recognizes what comes with the territory.
“There’s so many players in this area,” Mullen said. “We’re not going to get every player from South Florida. We’ve got to get the right players from South Florida that fit our program, that fit who we are and that want to be Gators. … The amount of talent that’s down here, it’s huge. You look at all the great players Florida’s had from South Florida in the past, so we’ve got to do a great job recruiting down in this area.
“The top players in Los Angeles don’t only go to USC and UCLA. They pack up and travel. Oklahoma’s got an awful lot of the players in the Dallas area, as many as Texas does. In South Florida, we’re in one of the richest recruiting areas in the country so that fact that kids do leave, that happens. But it’s not that we’re not going to recruit as hard as we can to get players from South Florida to come play for us.”
The top remaining targets are 4-star wide receiver John Dunmore (Hollywood, Fla.), 4-star athlete Mark-Antony Richards (Wellington, Fla.), 4-star defensive end Khris Bogle ( 4-star linebacker Ge’mon Eaford ( , Fla.) and 4-star defensive backs Jaden Davis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Kaiir Elam (North Palm Beach, Fla.) and Tyrique Stevenson (Miami). All seven players visited in the spring.
Mullen said multiple members of his coaching staff have experience recruiting South Florida, and he feels confident about their contacts in the area. The Gators will participate in a satellite camp in June.
“I think it’s huge, the comfort level,” Mullen said. “I’ve recruited down here, guys on our staff have recruited down here. You know people from when we were here before, of just building that. So our coaches feel very comfortable. … You sit in our recruiting meeting, there’s going to be a lot of the top guys on our board from South Florida.”
Mullen reconnects with former South Florida recruit
On Wednesday in Miami, the first-year Gators coach said he’s been recruiting the talent-rich region since 1995.
Mullen told a story about the first recruit he signed from the area and how he went on to become an All-American at Wagner College.
That player, Rick Sarille, happened to be in the audience listening to Mullen and reconnected with him after his speech.
— Dan Mullen (@CoachDanMullen) May 10, 2018
SEC Country’s Ryan Young contributed this report. Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.