Getting to Know: Tight End Signee Arlis Boardingham

Mar 8, 2022 | 0 comments

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“Smart. Versatile. Playmaker.”

The Florida Gators’ official Twitter account encapsulated the last addition to the 2022 recruiting class in three words that have made Arlis Boardingham‍ a centerpiece in Billy Napier’s #UFuture.

Inside the Gators got to know the man under the helmet much better in this edition of Getting to Know.


You took an extra week after NSD choosing between Florida and Oregon, how come?
“I wanted to make sure it was the best choice for me. I wanted to take time to really evaluate both teams and really see where I saw myself playing for the next three to four years. I just needed a little extra time. I was fresh off the trip from Oregon. So, I didn’t want to make an impulsive decision because it’s a beautiful campus. But I needed to make sure it was the right choice.”

It was Florida and Oregon in the end, what gave the Gators the edge?
“I feel like I just had better connections and I’m just more comfortable with the staff as a whole. I met the whole All Gators staff, they made sure they at least got to know me or at least introduce themselves. I didn’t really feel that at Oregon. I didn’t really feel like they really wanted me as much as Florida did. They just showed real interest and that’s what I was looking for.”

How did you feel about Katie Turner and Bri Wade along with the whole staff in their work to make you feel welcome?
“I feel like they were great and they did a great job. I feel like if my parents were really satisfied then that means that they were doing something really good because they’re not really easy people to please. They went above and beyond, making sure that they felt like they were at home.”

Apart from Turner and Wade, who stood out to you on the staff?
“Hold up I have to get her name real quick, it was very interesting what she had to say. I’m just looking for her name specifically. We were on a zoom meeting with coach Napier and we met her. She made sure that we were good.”

Boardingham was adamant about finding the name of the staffer that made such an impact on him that he had his mom search for her name as we moved on to the next question. His mom notified him that she had found the staffer as Arlis shared the name with me.

“Her name was Savannah Bailey. We hopped on a Zoom, and she made me answer questions that were not out of my comfort zone, but just questions I’d never heard before, and that really kind of opened my mind up a little bit. I thought that was really interesting.”

Do you remember what she asked?
“She was just asking if were to sell myself to my favorite team’s GM in the elevator and I had 30 seconds, what would it be? Or just helping me to find a career path. Just giving examples of how to set up my life in different ways based off what I like to do.”

Coach Napier was asked about your addition to the 2022 class and his first words were “Arlis is a unique athlete,” he goes on to talks about your exact measurements during the visit and your versatility on both sides of the ball. How does Coach Napier make you feel as a player?
“I feel inspired by coach. I just feel like he’s a man that when he says things you just want to believe them, and you want to think that they’re true. I believe in him; I believe they’re true. So, just hearing those words from him and him letting them know what type of player I am. Keeping it honest, it’s something that I really hold dear and that’s great about coach Napier.

Coach Napier said that you were a “mismatch type of player” what are you bringing to the Gators to uphold that?
“I just feel like I’m a mismatch because I’m big. I’m strong enough to outpower a corner and I feel like I’m also fast enough to outrun a linebacker. That versatility is something that I’m bringing.”

Is there anything new or special that the staff has told you to do to get you ready for fall?
“Well, they sent me some weights, they sent me some workout plans, which I’ve been following. They put me in a couple of group chats, just getting closer with the team and stuff like that.”

Your dad is a track coach, how important was that in your development?
“It’s everything. I don’t know where I would be without track. I don’t know how successful I would be in football without track. One of the reasons Florida wanted me was just because of my versatility and that has a lot to do with my speed. My speed would not be anywhere close to where it’s at right now if it wasn’t for track and what I did every year of my life after football.”

Were you a track guy first or football?
“I was track first. I was running track since five years old and I didn’t start playing football until I was like nine or 10.”

Do you see yourself as someone that might be playing different positions on offense and what might those be?
“Those different positions are going to be tight end and receiver. That’s what I want to do. I want to be able to be in different spots and get different opportunities. That’s where I see myself and that’s how they see me.”

You were the punt returner for Birmingham, how did that come about?
“I just asked the coach. I just told him ‘Let me just take one back.’ The first couple punt returns, I didn’t get to far. I think I got at least 15 or 20 yards. I would say senior year, my first punt return went for a touchdown and actually my next couple went for a touchdown. It really helped my field awareness, so I just continued to do it.”

Do you see yourself maybe returning a punt in a Florida jersey?
“I don’t know, I have to see how my career is going right around then. I didn’t really plan on it but things could change.”

Who was your football role model?
“It was my dad, he played football too. He was a football and track athlete. I wore his number for the majority of my high school career. He was a running back. He really inspired me to be who I am too. He let me know he wasn’t one of those super loud people to be yelling at the fans. After he’d let me know what’s going on and gave me that constructive criticism that I needed to push me throughout my football career.”




How hard is it going to be to leave track and field for football?
“It’s a love-hate, because I love to run. But at the same time, I’m not going to miss running every second of the day and doing them killer track workouts. But I am going to miss the sport just because it’s been something that I’ve always done, and it’s been like a lifelong thing for me.”

What do you want people to think when they hear the name “Arlis Boardingham” five years from now?
“I want them to think about the kid who came across the country and made a difference. Someone who wasn’t really highly rated and was pretty much underrated for his whole high school career and made a difference., battled through all the odds, all the doubters all the haters and just proved people wrong, just kept his head down and worked.”

Would you rather return a punt to win the National Championship or catch a 50-yard bomb to win the National championship?
“I’m going to see that a 50-yard bomb would be cool but a punt return for the natty would be crazy.”

What’s your favorite quality in a teammate?
“Just keeping it real and competitiveness.”

What are three things on your bucket list?
“Be able to retire both of my parents in a house of their choosing and a car of their choosing.”
“Be able to comfortably move around or really just not have any money problems, just have a stable life.”
“Make sure that I’ve helped the people around me to the best of my ability, helped my friends to the best of my ability, and make sure they eat too.”

What’s your first purchase as an NFL draftee?
“My first purchase isn’t even going to be for me. It’s going to be for my parents honestly.”

Do you have a favorite music genre?
“Hip hop R&B.”

Favorite artist?
“Right now, I’m going to say Rod Wave.”

Go-to song at the moment?
“I hate YoungBoy by NBA YoungBoy.”

Favorite song of all time?
“Legendary by Rio Da Yung Og.”

What’s your favorite movie? If you want some inspiration, Trevor Etienne picked Princess and the Frog.
“I’ll say the Bee Movie then.”

Are you more of beach person or pool person?
“The beach.”

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of sports?
“Play videogames. 2K, Madden, Call of Duty.”

What’s your go-to team in Madden?
“Green Bay.”

If you couldn’t play professionally in the future, what would you do?
“Take my major in business and invest in companies or be able to buy, flip and own houses or apartment complexes.”

What’s one thing Gator Nation would be surprised to find out about you?
“That outside of football I’m a pretty mellow person. Some people would say this is the ‘Cali lazy’ but I don’t really get that. I’m just mellow.”

Where do you see yourself five years from now?
“I see myself on an NFL team. That would be my rookie year or maybe my second year. Just leading the team in catches, receptions or yards after catch.”

Who is your celebrity crush?
“Man, I don’t even think I even have one. To be honest I’ve never had one.”

That’s a first, everyone’s gone for Zendaya.
“Nah, nah, nah, Zendaya does people wrong. She dates what’s his name.”

She goes out with Spiderman, no? Tom Holland.
“No, that’s an L. Don’t do that.”

If you could spend an entire day with anyone in history who would that be?
“My grandfather. He was just a huge person in my life, and I’d have so much fun with him no matter what age, no matter what was going on. It was just a person that I saw almost as a second dad really.”

Who are you looking most forward to playing against?
“Honestly when Texas comes over here…it’s going to be Texas.”

Why Texas?
“Just because they did me wrong in terms of recruiting. They didn’t do me wrong, it’s just I don’t feel like they handled it correctly.”

What did Texas do?
“They just said ‘Oh, we’re not taking any more tight ends’ and that they didn’t really need tight ends. They said ‘Oh, we’ll let you know if anything changes’ and then I look on my phone a couple weeks later and they took Jahleel Billingsley from Alabama. So, I was like ‘alright, cool.’”

What piece of California are you bringing to the guys in the Florida locker room?
“That’s a good question. I’m not really in a popular part of LA or California. I would say just that coastal vibe like y’all say.”

How excited are you to get to Gainesville?
“Oh, very excited. I can’t wait. It’s a new challenge and I’m ready to take it down.”

Final words to Gator Nation?
“Go Gators.”




Tags: Recruit

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