Recruit Reaction: ‘The atmosphere was crazy, I loved the energy’

Sep 4, 2022 | 1 comment

Inside the Gators asked Florida commitments and targets for their thoughts on the Gators’ 29-26 win over No. 7 Utah. Find out what Roderick Kearney, TJ Capers, Jake Merlinger, and others thought of the game.

  • 2023 four-star Florida State commit Roderick Kearney

“I had a great experience. I feel like the atmosphere was really good. They [Florida] have some dawgs upfront. I feel like Utah couldn’t stand with the O-line. Coach [Billy] Napier and coach [Rob] Sale do a great job with those guys. I talked to coach Napier and coach Sale today, they’re great guys.”

  • 2024 four-star linebacker target TJ Capers

“The atmosphere was crazy, I loved the energy. I met with the coaches for a little and the players at my position were in the right spots all game.”

  • 2024 four-star cornerback target Brayshon Williams

“I love the Swamp more and more every time I go. From Bre and Katy to Coach Napier, the love just grows every time I visit. It being my first college game, it was so live in Gainesville. The secondary held it down, but the defense, in general, held the game down.”

  • 2024 four-star quarterback target Jakhari Williams

“Craziest atmosphere yet. I love the coaches and how they make everyone feel special, rather it’s by knowing your name or your family’s name. It’s an awesome coaching staff. I think AR15 is a stud and stepped up & led his team last night and man it was an epic game.”

  • 2025 four-star receiver target Koby Howard

“The atmosphere was electric! I loved it and I will be back. Coach [Keary] Colbert told me to keep my head up and take my rehab slow. That he knows that I’m an elite receiver and he can’t wait for me to get back on the field! The wide receivers played okay. I would have liked to see more downfield explosive plays. Open that playbook up and stretch the field.”

  • 2025 four-star offensive line target Peyton Joseph

“The whole UF environment was crazy. Coach Napier has really been changing the whole system. The fan base is crazy. They are very supportive and once I got there it felt like this may be somewhere i can fit in and play at.”

  • 2023 four-star defensive line commit Kelby Collins

“I loved it. It was a true testament to why Florida is the way it is. A couple of key moments in the game were influenced by how loud the crowd was and how they couldn’t get their plays off. So, I’m excited to play in front of 90,000 people every weekend. I thought [the defensive line play] it was good. I thought they did a good job. They stopped the run very well and I feel like they pressured the quarterback to make some bad throws and run when he didn’t want to. So, I feel like they did their job.”

  • 2024 four-star defensive lineman Kendall Jackson

“The atmosphere was great. The fans were loud and hyped. The Coaching staff just kept saying that there’s no place like the Swamp. The player’s performance was good. I saw a couple of things they can clean up, just making tackles and getting off of blocks better, but overall they had a good game. A good performance from both sides of the ball.”

  • 2023 three-star offensive line commit Bryce Lovett

“It was crazy. Fun time to get back up here and watch them actually play this time with coach [Billy] Napier. I’m just glad they got out with the win. [The atmosphere was] crazy. Like I’ve been to Florida games before but this one just hits different. I know for sure I’m coming back for the homecoming game. My brother plays for Mizzou. So I’ll definitely be here.”

  • 2023 three-star PWO linebacker Ahman Covington

“The atmosphere was amazing. The fans showed me a lot of love and I love how they love the coaches! I had a conversation with Coach [Patrick] Toney and Coach [Billy] Napier. They were just telling me how great it is to be a Gator and that their glad to have me on board. The overall performance the players played great. They played for each other and didn’t let the mistakes get to them and their body language was high the whole night. They played real Gator football!”

  • 2024 four-star quarterback target Jake Merklinger

“The game was awesome. The stadium was electric all night and the fans were roaring! The hospitality from the staff was really good and greatly appreciated! [Anthony Richardson] is a freak!”

  • 2025 four-star quarterback target Colin Hurley

“The atmosphere, energy, and electricity in the Swamp were amazing. It lived up to its name and “Only Gators Get Out Alive!” That crowd was super-hyped, the alumni were deep, the coaches were focused and the players were playing with a lot of enthusiasm and fun. As a recruit, that opens your eyes.”

  • 2024 three-star offensive line target Elijah Walker

“First I would like to thank Katie Turner and all of the recruiting staff for their hospitality. The Swamp’s atmosphere was amazing and full of energy. The UF coaches were glad to see me and happy I could share the win with them. players at my position are coached very well by a legend like Rob Sale. After the game being able to join the team In the locker room was an experience I’ll never forget. Go Gators on taking down #7 Utah!”

  • 2025 four-star running back target Taevion Swint

“It was cool. That was my first night game in the Swamp and Florida is a fun team to watch. I had a great time last night and I will be back. The coaches were talking to me about my breakout game Friday vs Seminole. How I played a great game with my 4 touchdowns and how do I like UF so far.”

  • 2024 four-star defensive end Booker Pickett

“The atmosphere was crazy, I got really into the game. I left early, so I didn’t talk to the coaches, but I saw how violent the edge rushers were and I loved it. My brother [2026 offensive lineman Canon Pickett] also loved it. He got really into the game and he loved the offensive tackles.”

  • 2023 four-star offensive line target Caleb Lomu

“Atmosphere was amazing. It impressed me a lot to see what they did in the Swamp! I got to talk with Coach [Rob] Sale and [Darnell] Stapleton. We talked about what they have to offer and it was awesome! The game was crazy and loved how they played against a great Utah team.”

  • 2023 three-star offensive lineman Gernorris Wilson

“The atmosphere was something different. It was very hype and an all-around thriving atmosphere. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to talk to the coaches because I left early. I loved it. The whole offensive line handled their business last night.”

  • 2023 four-star linebacker commit Jaden Robinson

“The atmosphere was amazing. The coaches were telling me that will be me out there next year. [Anthony] Richardson definitely stood out to me.”

  • 2025 offensive lineman Max Buchanan

“It was amazing last night. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with the coaches. I spoke to coach [Darnell] Stapelton for a brief moment on the sideline before the game. I could see myself fitting in with the Gators’ offensive line.”

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