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Florida receives an assist from former Mullen protege in gaining latest pledge

May 26, 2020
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Being the son of former NFL quarterback, and coach, Jon Kitna, Burleson (Tx.) three-star quarterback Jalen Kitna‍ has moved around quite a bit in his young life, having lived in Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

Despite his travels, what he hasn't done yet though is step foot on campus at the University of Florida.

That won't take place until this coming weekend, but that didn't keep the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder from pledging to the Gators Monday evening sight unseen.

“I'm flying down there tomorrow [Wednesday] to get a feeling for the campus and Gainesville,” said Kitna. He however won't be able to meet with the staff in person during this recruiting dead period.

“Dak [Prescott] speaks very highly of Coach Mullen,” said Kitna. “He talked about how much he loved his time with him at Mississippi State and that he trusts Coach Mullen to take his entire quarterback room and develop all of them the best that he can”
- Jalen Kitna

As a matter of fact, he has never met Dan Mullen in person. Though he said he has spoken with him several times 'virtually' he won't actually see him face-to-face for at least another month.

“I'm excited to finally get to meet him in person,” said Kitna. “When things open back up in, I think, either late June or July we're going to try to take my official visit then.”

The fact that he is committing to a school he has never visited to play for a coach he has never met is a bit strange.

However, as Kitna pointed out, these are strange times.

“Considering the circumstances I understood that I might not be able to visit all of the schools I wanted to see so I've prayed and fasted over this decision over the last 40 days. At that point [six weeks ago] I really had no idea, but I had a really good relationship with coaches at Oregon State, Arizona, Florida, and Yale. As I sorted it out, Oregon State, Arizona, and Florida were my top three, and Oregon State got their quarterback to commit, so I felt like the Lord was speaking to me that Florida was the best fit.

“I called Coach [Dan] Mullen last [Monday] night and we talked,” said Kitna. “We decided to do it this morning, to get it [commitment] out there.”

One of the main selling points – of all things – that led Kitna to become a Gator was a 'virtual visit' to Florida.

“What I love about Florida is the culture,” said Kitna. “The virtual visit two weeks ago, when my family first logged on to Zoom, they had all of the coaches there to welcome us and I really felt like that visit was really helpful in us getting a feel for the program. I feel like the relationship part of it is already there. On the [virtual] visit I spoke with Coach [Dan] Mullen, Coach [Brian] Johnson, the academic staff, the training staff, the nutritionist, they had the quarterbacks come on. Kyle Trask and some of the other ones came on and said hi and I got to hear from them a bit. I got a sense that the quarterbacks are a tight group.”

While the visit helped seal the deal, according to Kitna, having a father who played the game at a high level gave him another prominent voice to help guide him through the process.

“He knows about the business part of football,” said the younger Kitna. “He knows what the most important things to focus on and the right questions that need to be asked. He let me make my own decision, but he was really influential in helping me figure out where I wanted to go.”

It wasn't just the UF staff and his father that helped lead him to Florida. The Gators had an assist from a player outside the staff as well.

During the 2019 football season Jon was the quarterback coach of the Dallas Cowboys, affording young Kitna the opportunity to be around former Mullen protege, quarterback Dak Prescott.

“Dak [Prescott] speaks very highly of Coach Mullen,” said Kitna. “He talked about how much he loved his time with him at Mississippi State and that he trusts Coach Mullen to take his entire quarterback room and develop all of them the best that he can whether they are the starter, a back-up or the fifth string guy. I was encouraged to hear him talk about how Coach Mullen will take the weapons he has and tailor his offense around that. All the great things he had to say about him influenced me as well.”

Speaking of quarterbacks, Mullen has stated in the past that he prefers to take one each class. However, after the transfer of Jalon Jones, Florida is down one numbers-wise, forcing the Gators to add Kitna to a commitment list that already includes four-star Carlos Del Rio‍.

“It doesn't bother me,” said Kitna of having another quarterback in the class. “Obviously I knew about him when I committed. I'm not scared of competition. If I'm going to be the best quarterback, then competing with other quarterbacks is going to be part of it.”

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Florida receives an assist from former Mullen protege in gaining latest pledge

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