(Photo Courtesy Florida Sports Information)
- Saturday Insider Scrimmage Notes
- Billy Napier media availability (8/21/22)
- Watch: Florida players react to the new football facility
A little over a week removed from moving into the brand-new Heavener Football Training Center, current Gators are feeling the benefits of their new home. However, this feeling of ecstasy extends to some of the former players, who are seeing the rewards the program is reeling in from the fruits of their labor.
On Saturday, over 100 former Gators took a tour of the new facility led by former Gator and current Senior Director of Student-Athlete Development/Alumni Relations Vernell Brown Jr.
Trey Burton, Brandon Siler, and Kevin Carter were a part of Saturday’s tour and feel a sense of accomplishment from their years of service with the team and how it affected the growth of the program.
Burton, who played from 2010-2013, visited the team about a month ago and is impressed with the progress.
“It’s amazing what they’ve done in one month. I was here like a month ago maybe three weeks ago, and it didn’t look anything like this,” Burton said following the tour on Saturday. “It’s going to be spectacular, and (I’m) just excited and happy for the guys that are going to get to use it.”
Siler feels his time with the team directly impacted the growth of the program. Specifically, winning an SEC title and BCS National Championship in his senior season in 2006 led directly to what the program and its facilities are today.
“We built this thing. There’s no conversation about all of this if you ain’t got these,” Siler said while pointing to his SEC Championship and BCS National Championship rings on his fingers. “It feels good to come back and see what it kind of nurtured and kind of formed into.”
As for Carter, seeing the program he won SEC titles with in 1991, 1993 and 1994 become one of the premier programs now with a top facility in the country creates a major sense of pride.
“You get to see how much your program has grown over the years,” he said. “I was here for three SEC titles in the early 90s, and I feel really honored to feel part of that golden age of Florida football. There wouldn’t all of this now if we didn’t do all of what we did back then.”
As for the future of the program, Siler and Carter know what the new facility brings to the table.
“I think it’s going to help us keep building and keep building because anybody that comes here and looks at it, you can’t say, Napier recruited like crazy, but (the new facility) recruits, too,” Siler said. “It’s big. We were a big part of what’s going on. I’m excited to see what’s going on in the future.”
Carter said seeing the new facility not only made him reflect on what he didn’t have when he was a player but appreciate what the current and future players will be getting.
“You see the facilities and you’re like, ‘Wow, we didn’t have any of this when we were here,’ but then you see it for the players now,” he said. “It’s like, you want that paid for and you want that for the kids that are coming through here now. You want them to walk away from this program and feel the same way that we do about the greatness of our time here.”