Portnjagin talks Florida pledge

Commitment Q&A

by Mark Wheeler
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On June 6 Florida offered Germany offensive lineman Noel Portnjagin after the 6-foot-5, 320-pounder turned in a standout camp performance. A week later he committed to the Gators.


You received an offer after you camped, but when exactly did you decide to commit to Florida?
“I decided to commit to Florida on the last day I was in the United States, so it was the 14th of June.”

How did it all take place? Who did you talk to, what was their reaction?
“I talked to my coach, Brandon Collier, and my mother about my decision, and both of them were really excited and happy about my decision.”

Why Florida? What made you decide that you wanted to be a Gator?
“Florida is for me the perfect place. One of the best football programs in the US, has a great academic program and also the overall vibe. The coaches told me that they really want me and they see my potential. It just feels really good to go to Florida.”

After receiving your Florida offer you also received offers from SEC programs Auburn and South Carolina. How strongly did you consider those two?
“Of course, I also considered going to Auburn or South Carolina, but not as strongly as Florida.”

Do you have your UF official visit date set?
“The date isn’t set yet, but it probably will be around the end of June and the start of July.”

What’s next for you? Do you go back to Germany? Do you play over there? When will you make it to UF?
“I am back in Germany now finishing the GFL season with the Unicorns, and I am probably enrolling in January.”

What position does Florida see you playing?
“With my frame, Florida sees me as a natural guard.”

What are your own thoughts about making the jump from playing in Germany to the top echelons of college football in the SEC?
“To play college football as a German kid is a really huge step for me, especially playing in the best conference in college football is something not many players in Europe can achieve.”

You are still pretty much an unknown, do you have a message for the Gator Nation?
“Yeah, I am unknown. Not that many people are considering watching football in Europe, or Germany specifically. I really want football in Germany to get more exposure because we can play football for sure, we just have to show the world what we can do. For the Gator Nation, I am ready to work as hard as possible for the Gators. Every day my goal will be to get better and that the Gators are back on top!”

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