It’s never easy to pack your bags and begin a new chapter in life, especially after dedicating four years of blood, sweat and tears to one university.
To a place you once called home.
But, following a season ending injury in 2018 at Louisville and an overhaul of the coaching staff, Jonathan Greenard knew he needed a fresh start.
“It was definitely tough to leave my alma mater where I graduated from,” Greenard said. “For me to make that adjustment, obviously what I had to do was understand what was at stake and what the future could hold for me.
“Once I realized the opportunity that was here [UF] and realized the impact I could make on my career and for this University, it was a no-brainer.”
That life changing decision and transition to Florida has come easy for Greenard, who not only grew up a fan of the Gators, but was previously recruited and coached by defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
“A lot of other schools hit me up, but then I looked down at Florida and I saw coach Grantham was here. I knew the system,” Greenard said. “I wanted to go to a place that I could start right away. I also knew the system, so I didn’t have to put too much pressure on myself of learning a whole new system.”
Florida is a perfect match for Greenard, who will help replace Jachai Polite at the BUCK position. In 2017 at Louisville, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Greenard lead the Cardinals in tackles-for-loss (15.5) and sacks (7) and is versatile along the line.
“He gives us position flexibility,” coach Grantham said. “In the sense, he could either play BUCK or end.”
More importantly, Grantham saw the leadership qualities in the former Cardinal.
“Johnathan comes in and has a work ethic that you like and that can feed off into the young guys. I always think it’s critical to get those kind of guys in the room to kind of bring the young guys along. He’s [Greenard] done a really good job with that and I know he’s excited to get going and play at this level.”
Despite not having to adapt to a new scheme defensively, Greenard did have to acclimate to a new strength and conditioning program.
“Coach [Nick] Savage, he’s going to get after you,” Greenard said. “We definitely had our hard workouts at Louisville, but this here at UF and coach Savage, he targeted parts of my body I never targeted before.”
Rehabbing from the injury where he tore multiple ligaments in his right wrist, Greenard was unable to workout for months before enrolling at Florida. He admits he was weak entering the program. But credits Savage getting him back into game shape.
“I was a little weaker coming in because I was injured. Pretty much when I got here I legit started working out again. It was an adjustment…but it’s college football and college workouts we do every day, so I’m pretty used to it now.”
The long-road recovery is about to pay off for Greenard. From missing almost every snap of 2018 to now being a projected starter on what is sure to be a top 10 program entering the season.