FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
- A Behind-the-Scenes look at the first week of spring practice
- Insider Visitor Notebook II: Florida a top program for four-star
- Anonymous Player Q&A III: Recapping Offseason Phase I & II
- ITG TV: Video from the first week of spring practice
- Behind the Scenes look at recruiting under Dan Mullen
- Ranking the March visitors from least to most likely to sign
- Anonymous Player Q&A News Feed
Over the weekend Florida played host to some of the top 2023 and 2024 prospects from across the nation. Inside the Gators caught up with several of them for the first of two Insider Visitor Notebooks.
THE SECOND VISIT HELPED BUILD A BOND
Rockledge (Fla.) 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle Bryce Lovett first started to come to the forefront of Florida recruiting last summer when he was one of the top offensive linemen at the Gators Elite Camp at the end of June and then after UF offered him in February, he was one of our 25 In-State prospects to keep an eye on.
Now that he has completed his second visit to Florida in the last two months, he said that there is a bond forming between him and the new staff.
"Yes my relationship with the whole staff is awesome," said Lovett. "Every time I go there it gets better. They just tell me that I would be a great fit there and they tell me about all the NIL stuff and the fans and how great UF is, but it’s not like they are trying to recruit me, it’s just them having a normal conversation. They tell you the truth."
He said that he can also see a difference in how the old staff and the new staff interacted with him.
"The new UF staff is just way more consistent and real," said Lovett. "They are going to constantly talk to you and recruit you, but not go too hard trying to sell you."
While talking to the coaches may have been beneficial, seeing them in action was even better.
"The highlight of the visit was seeing the line practice and talking to some of the players," explained Lovett. "It was good to watch practice. I talked to Richie Leonard the most because we are from the same city."
Up next for the On3 Consensus three-star is a trip to another program under consideration.
"There are five schools that I like the most," said Lovett. "Arkansas, Missouri, UF, Iowa State, and Louisville. I guess you could say they are the leaders, but they are not in order, like I don't know who’s No. 1."
Up next for Lovett is a trip to Iowa State set for April 8.
FOUR-STAR DEFENSIVE LINEMAN HAS TWO ON TOP
It was a month ago today that Florida extended an offer to Atlanta (Ga.) Woodward Academy four-star defensive end AJ Hoffler. Then, this past weekend he had an opportunity to meet with the coaches and see UF practice firsthand.
Florida was tooo lit!! I’ll be back #gogators ? @CoachMPeterson @JoeHamilton__ @coach_bnapier @MylesGraham2_ @Blake_Alderman pic.twitter.com/M2eBZTKn1K
— AJ Hoffler (@yungajh) March 20, 2022
"I talked to Coach [Mike] Peterson and Coach [Billy] Napier," said Hoffler. "They both said I’d be a great fit for them in their system. The main message was to keep building a relationship with them and that they are going to turn the program around."
The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder, who is the No. 271 ranked prospect in the nation according to the On3 Consensus, said that observing practice was the highpoint of the visit.
"My highlight was getting to watch the 1-on-1 pass pro drills during practice," said Hoffler. "I saw everything from the stretching to the tackling drills, and what stood out aside from the 1-on-1 pass pro drills was the team plays.”
After the visit, he said he has two programs standing out.
"Clemson and Ohio State are my early leaders as of now."
Up next is a trip to Ohio State this coming weekend.
LEGACY PROSPECT RECEIVES DREAM OFFER
Hoffler wasn't the only prospect on campus from Atlanta (Ga.) Woodward Academy.
However, the circumstances were different for Class of 2024 four-star linebacker Myles Graham.
The 6-foot-1, 212-pounder, who is the No. 11 prospect in the nation according to the On3 Consensus, was already familiar with the Florida program.
That's not a surprise considering he is the son of former Gators running back Earnest Graham.
There, alongside his father, Florida joined the likes of Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State by offering Graham on Saturday.
All Glory To God!! ?? Blessed To Receive An Offer From My Dream School and Father’s Alma Mater University Of Florida!! #GoGators ?@Davis33Coach @CoachBateman @coach_bnapier pic.twitter.com/HdtspQVKPR
— Myles Graham (@MylesGraham2_) March 19, 2022
"Me and my father were extremely excited," Graham said of the offer. "It is a dream come true of mine."
It wasn't just the offer that caught Graham's attention.
"The highlight of my visit was talking to Coach [Jay] Bateman and the photoshoot. I talked to Coach [Billy] Napier and Coach Bateman. They both loved the way I play and my capabilities on the field. They said it [Florida] would be a great place for me on and off the field."
Graham said he has no early leaders and his next trip is to South Carolina on April 2nd.
OFFER SHOOTS FLORIDA TO THE TOP OF FIVE-STAR’S BOARD
Willis (Tx.) 2024 four-star quarterback Derek Lagway, the No. 6 rated prospect in the nation according to the On3 Consensus, received what he deemed to be a 'dream offer' on Saturday while on campus at Florida.
WOW!!!! Blessed to receive an offer from THE University Of Florida!!!!! @coach_bnapier @CoachRyanO @JoeHamilton__ @WillisWildkats1 @CoachJGlenn @TheQBTech @RoSimonJr @Fast7v7 #UFuture #GoGators ??? pic.twitter.com/o4JlfAuDLa
— DJ Lagway ✞ (@DerekLagway) March 19, 2022
"It’s always been a dream to get an offer from the Gators," said Lagway. "It means a lot to me and shows me that hard work pays off."
The question is, why would an offer from Florida mean so much to a prospect from Texas?
"It’s just something about the Orange and Blue that gives me a different feeling than a lot of other schools," said Lagway.
That offer meant even more after he had an opportunity to get to know the new staff members.
"I talked to Coach [Billy] Napier and Coach [Ryan] O’Hara a lot," said Lagway. "We just talked about how I would fit in their offense well and just talking ball and how they want their quarterbacks to function. They said they are going to recruit me really hard and that I’m the quarterback that they want for the future."
The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder also got to experience how the Florida quarterbacks are coached up first hand.
"The highlight of the visit was being able to sit in Coach [Billy] Napier’s meeting with his quarterbacks."
While it is still early, it's also clear that the trip to Gainesville helped the Gators' chances.
"Florida is definitely high up there on my list."
Next Lagway will take visits to Alabama and Georgia.