|FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE|
Go monthly with our $1.00 Sneak Peak
As we have done with other big recruiting events, Inside the Gators takes you behind the scenes and shows you what visitors experience during the Great Gators Grill Out as told by a prospect who was in attendance.
- The Inside Scoop: Behind the scenes look at move-in day
- The Inside Scoop: An in-depth look at an official visit
- The Inside Scoop: Behind the scenes look at Jr. Day
- The Inside Scoop: An in-depth look at Lee Davis-Begley
On Saturday Tampa (Fla.) consensus three-star tight end Jonathan Odom visited Florida for the second annual Great Gator Grill Out. Today he shares his experience, as well as how his commitment went down, with the Gator Nation.
The Florida coaches invited me to the Great Gators Grill Out while I was on my official visit for the spring game. I planned on going, but then on Wednesday I started to get a cold and I wasn’t feeling well so I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to make it.
I was taking Dayquil and all this other stuff and it got me through my spring game, so when I woke up Saturday morning I decided I wanted to go so I drove up with my mom, my dad and my girlfriend.
When we arrived Coach Larry Scott drove out to the parking lot to pick us up in a golf cart. He was excited to see me. He was at my spring game the night before, so he joked, ‘Hey, long time no see.’
We talked for a little bit and he drove us up to the Heavener Complex to check in.
CAPTION: Check-in for the Great Gator Grill Out
We walked in and everyone was excited to see us. We checked in, got our credentials and then went into the Gator Room. They had the photo shoot set up in there, the National Championship trophies were there if you wanted to take pictures with them and there were PS4 and XBox stations to play video games and music playing.
CAPTION: National Championship and Heisman Trophies at the front of the Gator Room
CAPTION: My parents had a seat while I was showing my girlfriend around
I didn’t play anything, I spent most of my time with my girlfriend. She is thinking of going to Florida too, so since I’ve been here four or five times in like the past five months, I was telling her as much about it as I could and showing her around.
We took some photos with just jerseys on and then we left to go the pool for the grill out. I got in a little late so we were only in the Gator Room for about 15-20 minutes. We were going to take another tour of the campus to show my girlfriend around, but things got a little hectic so we went straight to the pool.
CAPTION: We took photos in the Gator Room this time
Over at the pool they had everything laid out, basketball court, snow cones, corn hole, beach volley ball.
It was cool. I liked being able to relax. I’ve been to junior days before where you get an itinerary where everything is scheduled out down to the minute and you have to be at a certain place at a certain time and you learn a lot about the school, but it isn’t fun or a relaxing, enjoyable atmosphere. It’s do this, do that, but this wasn’t anything like that. People were coming and going as they pleased. It was real laid back. It wasn’t recruiting at all.
So, when we got to the pool Dan Mullen got up in front of everyone under the tent and said a few words, but it wasn’t a recruiting talk.
We played a bunch of games, we ate a lot of food. My favorites were the ribs and the pina colada snow cone. We had fun! My dad said he was never treated like this at any of his visits when he was being recruited.
Me, Coach Scott, Gervon Dexter and another kid from Middleton [HS?] all played corn hole then we went and played beach volleyball. It’s all in fun, but we’re all competitive. I was always on the winning team!
I didn’t swim. I did get in the pool one time to get a water ballon. I started the whole water ballon fight when I hit Coach Mullen. Then Coach Scott hit [Gervon] Dexter and it was on after that. Coach Mullen ended up taking over and hitting everyone.
Just to let everyone know, I spared hitting my mom and my girlfriend.
CAPTION: At the pool Coach Mullen gave a short introduction, welcoming us, telling us to relax and have fun, but didn’t talk recruiting
After we ate and did all this I asked Coach Scott if I could take a little walk with him. I kind of told him that since I grew up a Gator I’ve been going on visits trying to find a school to top them. Florida was the school that I was comparing all the other schools to to see if they were better and I’ve been looking all over, all over the country, all different kinds of schools and none of them could top what Florida could do for me academically, athletically and preparing me for the next stage of my life with or without football.
Then Coach Scott brought Coach Mullen over and then Coach Mullen’s wife [Megan] came over and then my family and I sat down at the table and said, ‘I think this is it, I’m ready to make my commitment.’
No one knew what I was going to do. My family was kind of dumbfounded and Coach Mullen was even like, ‘don’t play with me’ and I didn’t plan it going in, but when I woke up Saturday morning I just had a feeling. When you get that feeling, go with what your gut says. My family was super excited that I’ll be going to Florida, two hours away and carrying on the family legacy.
That is when we all got together for the Gator Chomp picture under the tent.
CAPTION: After committing of course we had to all do the Gator Chomp
Coach Scott told me a couple of weeks ago that if I committed to Florida at the grill out that I could push him in the pool. I didn’t do that, but I did tag him with a water balloon.
My plan was to take all the rest of my official visits and commit sometime around September, but now I think I’m going to wrap it up. I was going to visit Alabama, Purdue and possibly Ohio State, but now I’m pretty much done and ready to close it up.
CAPTION: From my spring game visit, always a Florida Gators family