GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida is one of several college programs pursuing Kayvon Thibodeaux, the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2019.
The 5-star defensive end from Oaks Christian High School (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) was offered by new Gators coach Dan Mullen shortly after he took the job. Mullen flew to California to visit Thibodeaux on Jan. 22.
“Coach Mullen is a great guy,” Thibodeaux told SEC Country. “We talk on the phone and I like what he’s doing at Florida. I know there’s a lot of potential in the program. I see a lot of great things happening, honestly.”
Thibodeaux said he speaks with multiple coaches at Florida and likes the new defensive staff. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound prospect has already discussed his role in the Gators’ 3-4 scheme.
“They’ll have me rushing the passer,” he said. “In their defensive package, I might drop back sometimes and play a hybrid linebacker/D-end. That was great to hear. That fits my job description. That’s exactly what I am and what I’m good at.”
Thibodeaux wants to take a visit Florida and has a couple possible trips in mind. He could make it to campus in the near future.
“I’m going to see if I can take an unofficial visit this spring. I’m not sure yet,” Thibodeaux said. “I want to take an official visit around the season and try to catch a game. I just want to see how it is. I want to make sure it’s a place that I could actually see myself at.”
Thibodeaux named his 12 finalists on Feb. 24 and Florida made the cut along with Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, USC, UCLA and Washington. He hopes to make a late-summer decision.
“They play big-boy ball,” Thibodeaux said when asked what he likes about the Gators. “It’s in Florida. I love Florida. I’ve been there multiple times and, honestly, I feel like I can player anywhere. Distance does not matter at all. The biggest factors for me are personnel development and opportunities to play early.”