Napier: Limited opportunities in the transfer portal

May 30, 2022 | 0 comments


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Prior to a speaking event with the Fightin’ Gator Touchdown Club on Thursday night, Gators’  head football coach Billy Napier met with the media to discuss topics such as the offseason, NIL, recruiting, and more.

Here are the main takeaways:

BILLY NAPIER

  • Florida’s most recent addition to the roster is transfer wide receiver Ricky Pearsall from Arizona State. “Each individual is case-by-case,” Napier said, “and we felt that Ricky’s skill set would fit our team and our offense.” Napier explained that there were some past connections at ASU, where Napier was the offensive coordinator for a season, that led him to pursue Pearsall.
  • In a world where NIL is constantly talked about negatively, safety Trey Dean became a positive example after surprising his mom with a Jeep on Mother’s Day using funds from an NIL deal. “Trey has created value for himself as a result of a lot of hard work,” Napier said. “NIL in these days, if you create value for yourself, and if you work hard, and you put yourself in a position where you can earn a wage, it creates opportunities like that.” Napier added that he’s hopeful more opportunities like that will come to Gator players.

Related: Parental Perspective: Dean’s Mother’s Day gift provides a positive example of NIL


  • Building off NIL, Napier explained his thoughts on how NIL works with recruiting. “NIL is a portion of the decision,” he said. “All these situations are case-by-case. You have to evaluate each situation independent of all the others.” Napier compared the situation to NFL teams during free agency, which is what he’s been studying to prepare for the NIL world. However, NFL free agency is not exactly the same as college does not have a salary cap with NIL or year-based contracts, so it is a lot of navigating. “Right now, we’re living in a land with no laws,” he said.
  • In the near future, the SEC will see the addition of two more teams as Texas and Oklahoma will join the conference. This leads to questions about conference realignment and scheduling. Napier does not have an opinion on the matter. “I don’t have enough bandwidth to think about that right now,” Napier said with a chuckle. Right now, Napier said he’s consumed with focusing on the program itself before what happens in the conference. With the SEC spring meetings approaching, and the topic on the table, Napier said he is going to sit back and listen on the matter. “I’ll behave just like I should as a rookie head coach,” Napier said.
  • Making headlines in the college football world over the last week and a half was the public feud between Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher over NIL and recruiting. Napier, who used to coach under Saban, said he’s not getting involved in the matter. “I think it is what it is. We’ll leave that between them,” he explained. “I certainly don’t want to get in the middle of that conversation.”
  • A major aspect of Billy Napier’s coaching style is the various phases he uses throughout the year. On Wednesday, the Gators entered Phase 5: Regimen. Napier said the team is coming off a discretionary period where the team had a little over a month off, but are now coming back to campus. “Regimen is essentially a nine-week training block,” Napier explained. “It’s a four-week, 28-day workload, one week off, four-week, 28-day.” Napier said there’s a weekly routine with the players with training, strength and conditioning, conditioning, and film review for eight hours a week.
  • As far as the 2022 recruiting class is concerned, Napier said there are 17 scholarship and 11 walk-ons currently on campus. “There’s still a handful that aren’t here,” he said. “A lot of that has to do with graduations, when they finish up with their final exams, when the transcripts are proofed.” For Napier, it’s so far so good for the freshman class at Florida.
  • As the offseason progresses, so does the construction on the James W. “Bill” Heavener Football Training Center. Napier said the staff has taken a few tours of the facility. “It’s certainly going to be a great day when we move in there,” he said. “A lot of work left to do. I think we’re anticipating being in there before training camp starts.”
  • Back in spring, Napier said that he would give five walk-ons a scholarship. At the moment, Napier isn’t ready to reveal the names yet. “We were able to do that,” Napier said. “I think there’s a lot of pros and cons to that, but a lot of guys were able to take advantage of our current situation.” Napier reiterated that the team is maxing out their roster as much as possible and trying to get close to the 50-man walk-on group he wanted when he was hired.
  • As the team maxes out the roster, Napier said there are not a lot of opportunities in the transfer portal heading into the 2022 season. “I think most of the players you can acquire at this time would be graduate transfers,” he said. “They would be players that were already in the portal.” Napier added that there are JUCO players that eventually become available, but the staff will take a look at each available player on a case-by-case basis and decide from there.
  • The United States suffered another tragedy with a mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. Napier, the father of three kids, gave his insight into the situation. Napier said he found out about the shooting after landing in Buffalo to attend the Bills’ training camp. “A lot of topics here to discuss,” he said. “I’ve tried as much as I can to get up to speed. Some of these things, they continue to be issues. You’re talking about two highly debated topics when you talk about mental health and when you talk about gun control. I think, obviously, right, wrong or indifferent here, you just feel strongly for the people that were affected. What I’ve learned in life is these difficult things that we go through, individually or as a group of people, whether it’s a community, university, a nation or whatever the case may be, these cause dialogue. These cause conversation. These cause people to see other vantage points. To really put yourself regardless of where you stand on these issues. What I would hope here, much like the most difficult things in my life that I have gone through, those things cause growth.” Napier added that both sides of the argument need to come together to find solutions rather than be apart. “I’m just hopeful that we can continue to find common ground.”

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WCC: Live updates from the event can be seen HERE.

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