Early Entry Review: Speedster excelling despite position coach change

Early Entry Review

by Alyssa Britton-Harr

Please Read: Welcome to the new-look Inside the Gators

Florida freshman wide receiver Aidan ‘Early’ Mizell grew up in Orlando (Fla.), attending Boone High School, where he followed in the footsteps of his parents – Ebony Robinson-Mizell and Wil Mizell – to become a track standout.

Aidan took it a step further, becoming a standout on the gridiron as well, which led to his commitment to play football for the University of Florida.

Aidan’s father, Wil, shared some of Aidan’s most notable moments as a Gator throughout his first five months on the team and what it’s been like for him to attend the alma mater of both of his parents.

Unlike many of the other freshmen, Mizell has all eyes on him due to his family’s reputation of both of his parents running track at Florida. In addition, his father worked in fire rescue in Gainesville for four years after he graduated from Florida. As a result, Mizell is well known around campus and in the city because he is the son of Wil and Ebony Robinson-Mizell, and some of their former teammates still live in Gainesville.

Florida being his final destination wasn’t always a sure thing.

Despite Mizell recording 47 receptions for 1,003 yards (21.3 avg) and 18 touchdowns as a junior, Florida’s previous staff never offered the legacy prospect.

That in turn led Billy Napier to apologize to the family when he took over and his new staff reached out.

Parental Perspective: Legacy’s path to Florida began with an apology

Mizell committed to and signed with Florida while Keary Colbert was still the wide receiver’s coach. He has since moved on to the NFL.

“Obviously, he was not hyped about Coach Keary leaving, but that’s the business that they are in,” said Mr. Mizell.

Since then he has been replaced by Billy Gonzales, who was part of Dan Mullen‘s previous staff which didn’t offer Mizell.

There’s no carryover or hard feelings though.

“I’ve met with Coach Gonzalez once, he was very excited about the prospect of working with Aidan,” explained Wil. “Coach G said he was doing very well and was working really hard on his craft, that he had a lot of talent. Aidan likes Coach Gonzalez. Obviously, Coach Gonzalez has developed some very high-level receivers so Aidan is excited to learn from a guy who developed that caliber of player.”

Wil did mention that Aidan sees that the two have different approaches.

“Coach Colbert is a very laid back and easy-going kinda guy, whereas Coach Gonzales is more amped up and a high energy guy. He is excited to be back at UF and is hyped with the guys he has at wide receiver.”

Throughout Mizell’s first few months at Florida he has showcased his speed across the board amongst other Florida players to be known as one of the fastest players on the team. “It doesn’t matter what crew he is on, he is always going to be the fastest, that’s how he thinks,” Mizell said. “From what everyone has said, he is the fastest on the team at the moment.”

Mizell’s recognition within his first few months as a Gator has allowed him to grow mentally and physically in his athletic ability and with the program Florida head coach Billy Napier has created.

“The program under Coach Napier did a really good job as far as athletically getting the kids that were the right fit. As far as mentality, they got a good group of kids. They’re there for the right reasons, and to excel athletically.”

Wil Mizell

Mizell is known as a lengthy guy regarding his weight and strength on the field. Despite not being a weight room guy, he has made a turnaround due to the necessity of gaining weight when transitioning from high school to the collegiate level.

“He has had a pretty big return in his first five months of training because of its intensity, but he has gotten a lot stronger and has seemed to surprise a lot of people,” Mizell said. “With how skinny he is, the amount of power and ability he has was surprising to many of the coaches.

“He’s up about 5-10-pounds since he came in – 175-180 – he’s at a good weight for now. His strength-to-weight ratio is very high, hence his ability to run as fast as he can.”

Off the field, Mizell is growing as a person as well.

Two weeks ago Mizell had the opportunity to go to South Africa with Gatormade as a service trip to help build a water system at the Lavender Youth Center, where children can go in the region to play rec sports and participate in various activities. “It was an eye opener for him, to be able to see culturally how we do things in the U.S is not the norm,” Mizell said. This was Mizell’s first time out of the country and for many players on the 10-day trip.

“I appreciate what coach Nappier has done; he is building young men and giving them some sensibilities that go beyond football and athletics,” Mizell said.

Parental Perspective: GatorMade provides life-altering experiences for Florida football student-athletes

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  1. Give Napier and his coaches credit for bringing in speed like Douglas, Mizell and Wilson.

    I don't know if Mertz can take advantage of them but Lagway will in 24.
  2. Give Napier and his coaches credit for bringing in speed like Douglas, Mizell and Wilson.

    I don't know if Mertz can take advantage of them but Lagway will in 24.
    Don't forget Andy Jean, who is actually not just a speed merchant but a possible starter. Regarding Mertz, we can't go too much by spring practice but fall practice will show a little more, although it looks like Napier isn't going to show much of the offensive playbook before the Utah game.

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