Florida Football & Recruiting Coverage
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- Impact Analysis: Counting down the impact of the top 10 transfers out
- Impact Analysis: Counting down the impact of the 10 incoming transfers
- Anonymous Player Q&A II: Thoughts on the 2022 season
- Watch: Former Florida lineman has complete faith in Napier
- Anonymous Player Q&A I: The differences between Mullen and Napier
- Getting to Know: Defensive tackle transfer Cam’Ron Jackson
- Watch: Q&A with 2024 quarterback commit DJ Lagway
- Ranking the Great Eight Signees
- Grading the Gators Class of 2023
- Parental Perspective: A football family
- Watch: A behind-the-scenes look at Caden Jones’ Florida official visit
- Regular Season Report Card: Napier has a Muschamp-like first season
Gretna (La.) De La Salle four-star offensive tackle Caden Jones is one of the standout signees under Billy Napier’s revamped Florida Gators offensive line.
Trading the bayou for a new orange and blue swamp as part of the Louisiana core that has given new life to Napier’s Gators.
Inside the Gators got to know the man under the helmet in this edition of Getting to Know.
You had a top five of Houston, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida State, and Florida. It came down to A&M, Houston and Florida on commitment day. What gave the Gators the edge?
Just the connection I had with the coaching staff. That’s what it is. I could see the future that they had planned for their program, I’m here for it.”
Describe the experience of committing at the All-American Bowl.
It was a crazy experience. You know growing up as a kid, you always watch those kinds of games. You watch people commit on the TV and you say, ‘I want to be like that when I grow up.’ Just to say that and be there, it was a complete blessing.”
What’s so special about the new Florida staff?
Their staff came from ULL (University of Louisiana at Lafayette). Their whole staff recruited me when they were at ULL, Coach (Jabbar) Juluke and coach (Billy) Napier. When they got to Florida, they just saw their program and started recruiting me.”
It’s just been a good relationship between us, especially with coach (Darnell) Stapleton and coach (Rob) Sale, and our relationship has gotten stronger since the recruitment process. It’s always good to have people like Juluke and most of the people they have are from Louisiana.”
You were Napier’s first in-home visit of the December contact period. How’d that make you feel?
It feels good. It made me feel good. Knowing that you’re the first one that they come to see on an at-home visit and just take the time to go do that, that’s really good.”
Describe what it feels like to be recruited by Florida. The graphics, the Jordans, the Lamborghini. What’s it like?
It’s just a crazy experience. That first thing was cool because when SLAM (Magazine) does theirs like that, their magazines are hard, and I like it.”
You were at the UF-Mizzou game, how big was that game in your decision?
It was big, especially when you get to see it in person, and you get to be in the Swamp in person. I’m not going to lie it was hot, real hot, but it was a good experience to be there.”
Is it true that you didn’t start playing football until your junior year?
I started playing football and basketball in eighth grade. But I’ve been playing both since I was like six. But I didn’t stop playing basketball until this year. So, I played both up until this year.”
Roderick Kearney, center Knijeah Harris and tackle Bryce Lovett are among Florida’s offensive line additions in the 2023 cycle. How excited does it make you to see that other recruits in your unit are heading to Florida?
It makes me feel good to play with those groups of kids, they have good personalities, and you could tell they’re good people to be around. Just to be in the locker room and around those guys for the next three-four years of my life is going to be great.”
The Gators’ offensive line is coming off a stellar season with the likes of O’Cyrus Torrence headed to the NFL Draft. How did that affect your recruitment in regard to coach Sale?
Everybody has an end goal. My end goal is to make it to the NFL. To work with a guy that can help me do that just puts a great vision in my mind.”
What team are you most looking forward to playing against?
Georgia. They’re back-to-back national champions. It’s always good to get that exposure and just to play that type of competition. They have decent defensive linemen. They always put put a good number of defensive linemen and they always have to have a good defensive line. So, just to play against that defensive line and see them go to the NFL, playing against the defensive line looks good.”
If you could play any position on offense, what would you play?
Receiver. It’s because I’m tall and I can catch. Receivers have to make the plays. Everybody would say quarterback or running back.”
What’s your favorite quality in a teammate?
You have got to be funny. My best teammates have been funny. If you’re a funny guy we can chill real quick, I always laugh at everything.”
Three National Championships with the Gators or one Superbowl?
Three National Championships.”
Would you rather have ended up in the NBA Hall of Fame or be remembered as one of the football greats, but never make it to the NFL Hall of Fame?
That’s a tough one. I’m going to go NBA.”
Can you dunk?
Yeah, of course!”
What are three things on your bucket list?
I’ve always wanted to go to New York for some reason. New York. To win a National Championship, of course, and I want to go to Dubai. I’ve never been outside of the country before. So, I want to go to Dubai.”
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
I’m going to say ‘Back to the Future.’”
Are you really social before a game or are you more of a headphones-on guy?
Headphones guy, locked in.”
If you could spend an entire day with anyone in history who would that be?
Te’a Cooper, she’s a WNBA player for the LA Sparks.”
Gator gameday comes around. What are you looking most forward to outside of the field?
What’s your first purchase as an NFL draftee?
A house for my mom.”
Who’s your celebrity crush?
What’s something that’s not really talked about when it comes to recruiting?
The fatigue of just going to OVs. The fatigue after doing an official visit and then come back. I don’t know why I just get so tired.”
If you could play with any former Gator, who would it be?
The Pouncey Twins.”
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
In the NFL.”
What’s something you wish more people knew about you?
I’m a funny guy.”
What’s your message to Gator Nation?
Be ready, that’s all I can say. Be ready. Be on the lookout.”