FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
- Getting to Know: Offensive Line Signee Christian Williams
- Florida is the perfect fit for Miller to fulfill his promise
- Napier described as patient, genuine, with a detailed approach
- Resetting the Board: 12 targets to watch
- 15 players who are the Foundation of Florida Football
- Napier has a plan in place
- Coaching search consultant Landry goes in-depth on Mullen and Napier
As the transition from one regime to the next for the Florida Gators continues, Inside the Gators stops to speak with those that are inundated with the topsy-turvy world of college football and even more so the roller coaster that has been the Florida team of late.
This group understands what it is like to go through the recruiting process in order to help someone close to their heart make the biggest decision of their young lives.
Their interest, however, unlike coaches or administrators, scouts or agents, doesn’t lie solely with the success of the team. These are the parents, a group largely forgotten in the discussion, the ones who are learning to skirt the fine line between protecting their child and letting them grow up.
They have been through the fire and have come out armed with advice for future parents.
Up today is Sherry Wilson, the mother of Florida safety signee Kamari Wilson.
- Part One: David Conner’s mother
- Part Two: Chris McClellan's mother
- Part Three: Kamari Wilson's mother
Q: How would you describe the recruiting process for your son and your family?
A: I think it was amazing. I think Florida gave Kamari his first offer back as a freshman. We’ve traveled there several times. We’ve been invited there several times. They were definitely showing interest over these last three, four years of the recruitment process. The coaches I mean, of course, there is a different staff than what we dealt with in the beginning. All the staff, I mean, were great.
Q: If you had the power, what is one thing you would change about the recruiting process?
A: I don’t know what I would change about it, but it’s so many relationships you build over the course of the years of the process, and sometimes it’s sad to see people go. People change. You know what I’m saying. You get used to certain people, and then they’re gone. As far as Florida goes, I don’t know. I don’t know how they keep up to tell you the truth with so many different families and different people. I know I felt like I was recruited as well. Me and my husband as well as the family because we built those same relationships as Kamari. I don’t know I guess when you’re on the ride and you end up stopping at your destination and the people that you met along the way some of them are no longer there, I think that might be the sad part about it, but I know that life in this business some people go, some people stay.
Q: Now when you said you felt like you and your husband were equally as recruited, was there anything that was done to make you feel just as welcome as your son?
A: Just the texts, the phone calls, you know just the passion we see and have seen from the coaches. The building of the relationships with not just him, they built them with us you know.
Q: Your son could have gone just about anywhere, but he chose a Florida program that is basically starting over and one where he doesn't have a lot of background with the current staff. Why make that leap?
A: I think my son’s been praying for—he’s big on faith an all—he’s been praying for God to lead him in the right direction. And at the time when Napier came to see him, he had actually been praying, and he truly, strongly felt that Florida was a sign. That God sent Napier to see him. And then he came to see me, and then the next thing you know, we were there. And this whole process we were swaying a couple different ways, but when it boiled down to it, the last minute to be honest within the last hour before he made his decision, I had to really talk to him the night before and tell him to pray. And I told him when you wake up if you feel it in the heart, whatever you feel the strongest in the heart that’s what you go with. And he felt Florida. He felt like Napier and his team were part of something special. He liked his attitude. I liked him. I liked some of the things he talked about he wanted to do with Florida. I just think that the whole new era and that seemed to the point of building and him coming him and helping him to build together, starting off fresh. That’s just something that he strives for. He’s a hard worker, and he strives on stuff like that, the building part, the starting over, the starting from the ground up to build something special. That type of thing. He’s not all about the popular spots. You know a lot of kids, a lot of his teammates went to other schools that he could have went to. But he’s more part of, how could I say it.? He’s just special. He’s different.
Q: Your son officially visited that final weekend before Early Signing Day, what was that visit like?
A: That was, you know we’d been to Florida. I had been there at least four times before that. And he’s probably been there seven times before that, but that was the first time that we actually took an official. So, I mean we were able to, you know not a whole lot of football going on, no games, so we were able to connect with the coaches and staff. We were able to talk more with coach Napier for his vision for the program. We were able to just have one-on-one conversations and you know special people there. You got coach [Jamar] Chaney, of course, that came that gave Kamari his first offer. And Kamari looks up to him. He’s a great coach. He’s from our are. And you have the coach that came from LSU, Corey Raymond. You have Corey Raymond; Kamari admires Corey Raymond. He’s produced a lot of defensive backs, great defensive backs that are in the league. We had a chance to spend time with all these great coaches over the course of that weekend, and I think that downtime and it wasn’t a rush-rush thing because it was kind of like a slower weekend there wasn’t a whole lot going on, I feel like we got more insight on what this program could be with this new era.
Q: How big a part did knowing that hometown 'legend' Jamar Chaney have on Kamari's decision and how much more comfortable was the family with the thought of him being on the staff?
A: Huge. Huge. He’s a great coach. It makes me feel a sense of relief with my son going away that know that somebody is there—not that the other coaches wouldn’t have his back—but I know someone personally that I know will have his back. Huge for our relief. And not just any coach, he’s an awesome coach. He’s a very humble, great guy.
Q: What makes him awesome from your perspective?
A: He cares. He’s a hard worker, when it comes to coaching, and he is not just about the coaching. He cares about the athlete. He’s been where all these kids are trying to go. He’s been in the league. He knows the ins and outs. He knows the dos and don’ts. With him having that experience, sharing his knowledge and caring for these kids, they got a great coach in Chaney.
Q: What was your initial impression of Billy Napier?
A: My first impression when he pulled up and walked into Sam’s Club, I don’t know. I liked him right off. I loved his character. He’s not a pushy coach. I love his humbleness, his patience, his calmness. And we talked awhile on his vision [for the program].
Q: So, to set the table, Napier went to see Kamari at IMG and then he came to see you?
A: He went to see Kamari at IMG, and then he came to see me at work. He [Napier] told me he just loved seeing my son, and he wanted us to come up to visit the weekend. Kamari told him, “You need to go see my mom.” And he’s like so “I come to see you, tell you about such a good kid you raised and see if you guys wanted to come down this weekend.”
Q: What did it mean to Kamari for Napier to make the trip down to do that?
A: Oh, it meant a lot to Kamari because he didn’t know if he was going to do it. He didn’t know if he was going to go for sure. He called me and said, “Mom, coach may come see you, I’m not sure if he’s coming.” It meant a lot. It showed Kamari that he’s a man of his word. And you know basically, Kamari told him you got to go see the boss. This whole process is about you want to trust the coach, right? You want to have that sense of, as a player as a kid, security. You want to know that you can trust this coach, and as a parent you want to know if I can trust this coach with my kid. Can I trust this, this, and this college with my kid? And my first impression of Napier, I got a very good sense of trust.
Q: Going back in time, at what point did you start to believe that your son was a special football player and would be able to play at the college level?
A: I would say maybe about age nine because the passion the kid had after he learned how to play the game. He never got out in little league, and he just wanted to keep going. And by the time he made it to eighth grade, he was one of the best in the Pop Warner league. And when he made it to high school, one thing about Kamari, he’s not cocky, but he speaks into existence that he’s going to accomplish with a positive attitude that he knows he’s going to get there. From watching him grow up over the years, and from him watching his brother and his sister because they both were athletes, and he always said that he was going to be better than them. And I think they kind of inspired him to work as hard as he worked. But watching him work going into high school and to see things unravel so fast for him as far as scholarship offers, the rankings with the 247sports. I knew then that this kid is going to go far.
Q: If could tell anything to the Gator Nation, what would you want them to know about your son?
A: I would say to the Gator Nation that they got someone that’s going to work hard, that’s going to leave it all on the field. When he goes out there and plays in front of those fans, he’s going to give them everything he has. Every game. Every practice. Every time he steps on that field. He’s going to give them 100% in the community because that’s how he was raised. We do community involvement at home. He looks forward to that type of stuff. He’s going to be the best, one of the best citizens. He’s going to give them everything he’s got as far as character, he’s a great young man that loves people, loves his community, and he loves football.