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Redshirt Report: Pierre out to prove he belongs

January 10, 2020
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During the beginning weeks of the off-season, Inside the Gators will take an in-depth look at how last season went for Florida's 2019 signees who redshirted with our Redshirt Report series. Today, we focus on how this past season went for linebacker Jesiah Pierre.

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A two-way standout at Mount Dora Christian Academy, Jesiah Pierre is perhaps one of the greatest athletes in his high school’s history. He compiled 131 tackles as a freshman and sophomore and led the Bulldogs to deep playoff runs as a junior and senior.

“He’s the most explosive kid we’ve had,” Mount Dora Christian coach Kolby Tackett said. “To me, he’s a total package. He’s a leader; he’s got really high character. But he’s really fast-twitch, really violent at the point of attack, really heavy hands.”

Unfortunately for Pierre, being one of the best players in school history only afforded him a three-star ranking in the Class of 2019 and a handful of major offers. That’s what happens when you go to a school with only a little more than 600 students and play in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference against other small Christian schools.

Still, Florida linebackers coach Christian Robinson and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham saw something in him that they believed would translate to the SEC.

As Pierre prepares for his second spring with the Gators, he’ll be looking for an opportunity to prove his coaches’ assessment correct. He played in just two games in 2019 and redshirted.

Tackett said Pierre knew when he decommitted from Miami and committed to UF that he would likely have to redshirt. He handled the situation about as well as could be expected.

“He knew it was going to be a competition,” said Tackett, who still talks to his former star pupil regularly. “He asked me what I thought about it, and I was like, ‘Dude, you’re playing for the at the time No. 6 team in the country.’ You’ve got to kind of pay your dues, and he’s got a lot of football to learn, but he was never upset about it.”

Two of the biggest things Pierre tried to work on over the last year were understanding the defensive scheme and adjusting to the speed of the game, Tackett said. There’s always an adjustment to the speed of the game from high school to college but even more so when you come from a small high school like Mount Dora Christian Academy.

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2020 Redshirt Report Series

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“He said just everything is – it’s similar, like high school, but it’s just 10 times faster than high school football,” Tackett said. “So, I think that’s what he just tried to – to slow the game down and take one rep at a time.”

Though it’s only been one year, Tackett said Pierre is an entirely different player now both physically and mentally.

“He came to one of our playoff games, and he showed up and he doesn’t even look the same,” he said. “He’s a man now. So, I think physically, they’ve definitely, absolutely changed the way he looked. And just the way he can talk ball with me now. I think his knowledge of the game has gotten so much better as well. You’re around great coaches, you’re naturally going to be better at schemes and stuff like that. So, I definitely think he’s improved.”

With David Reese’s graduation and only Derek Wingo scheduled to come in, there figures to be a wide-open competition at both of the linebacker spots. Pierre might be an underdog because of where he went to high school, but nothing he does will surprise those who have believed in him from the start.

“I’ve talked to Coach Robinson, I’ve talked to Coach [Ron] English, and they speak incredibly, incredibly high of him, saying that they don’t even know how good he can be,” Tackett said. “But I think athletically, he’s got everything you need and everything you want. I think the sky’s the limit for the kid.”

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Redshirt Report: Pierre out to prove he belongs

4,435 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 10 days ago by upstateg8tor
Graylon
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I've been waiting to see what this kid can do... he looks to be a text MLB..
upstateg8tor
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Excellent insight, as always. Thanks
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