April 26th, 2010 05:58pm

NFL Draft another boost for UF recruiting

by

What a very, very long commercial for Urban Meyer’s football program. I can just imagine Meyer sitting back in a recliner with his favorite beverage in one hand and his cell phone in the other. Text messages from recruits flowing in and a grin from ear to ear stuck to his face.

Florida had nine players drafted, the most of any school, and what do most high school athletes want from their college football experience? A shot at a professional career. Like Meyer’s outburst at a reporter earlier this spring, this kind of national attention is the stuff recruits eat up. It’s not like ESPN decided before the draft to constantly talk about Florida (although all that Tim Tebow bashing says otherwise). Try as you might to get away from it, the draft was littered with Gators highlights.

“I’m proud of all of our players who now have a chance to fulfill a life-long dream and play in the NFL,” Meyer said. “When we were recruiting them we sat in their living rooms and we talked about graduating, winning championships and going to the NFL. It’s something special to see that happen.”

Meyer’s NFL card isn’t tucked away neatly anymore when he walks into a family’s home trying to sway their son over to the orange and blue. That card is stitched right on every shirt he wears in there. It may be more visible than he is.

Meyer’s 2006 recruiting class, arguably his best all-around class, produced four draft picks this year. Percy Harvin was a part of that class and he was taken in the first round last year and was the NFL Rookie of the Year. His 2007 class produced five draft picks, including offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey, who went in the first round to the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s 10 from those two classes in the last two years.

Let’s not forget that even with all the negativity surrounding Tebow and the draft, he was selected in the first round by the Denver Broncos. The guy scouts constantly ripped for his mechanics went in the first round. That’s definitely a selling point for the Gators.

What must have brought yet another giddy grin to Meyer’s face was when he looked up at the end of the draft and saw that in-state rivals Florida State and Miami were worlds away from the Gators in the draft. Miami finished with four players drafted (the first came off the board in the third round) and Florida State had three players taken. In 2009 FSU had just one player taken — defensive end Everette Brown in the second round to the Carolina Panthers. Miami had just one selection as well and it came in the sixth round.

As for Florida’s SEC rivals, Tennessee had six players selected and Georgia had five. Alabama, which Florida fans should get accustomed to seeing more often, had seven players taken.

Florida cleaned up in the draft this year and that certain adds a huge element to Florida’s recruiting weaponry. Atmosphere and a state-of-the-art facilities help, but proving that you can be a direct pipeline to the NFL usually becomes the biggest selling point for schools. Florida’s got that last part covered.

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Comments

13 Comments

  1. April 26th, 2010 8:15 pm

    Gators get as much if not more national media attention as anyone. The program has been as successful the last 20 years as anyone. One of the top rated public universities in the country. Like I stated in Dooleys blog…it’s all there.

    by TampaDave


  2. April 27th, 2010 2:07 am

    Recruiters can criticize all they want about playing in the spread offense in college or how much more experience a player gets in a pro-style offense. The basics are the same. No one can argue with the results on draft day. As long as coach Meyer is here there are going to be a lot of Gators on a great many NFL teams. He’s got the perfect balance psychologically, in practice and on game day and really in the whole environment when a recruit walks on campus. He gets peak performance from each player. He learns all the time and just gets better at it every year.

    by florida frankie


  3. April 27th, 2010 8:13 am

    The draft was like a 3 day infomercial for the Florida Gators and the University. Awesome.

    The only good reason for a recruit not to come to UF is internal competition. If the only way you get to play at the swamp is to be on an opposing team… you gotta go elsewhere.

    Go Gators. Thanks Urban… Thanks Jeremy.

    by gwgator


  4. April 27th, 2010 8:44 am

    Another great article Edward. How solid do you think the Driskell commit is and will UF target a second QB for 2011?

    by ga gator


  5. April 27th, 2010 9:20 am

    Coach Meyer has got us right where we need to be! I live in the midwest but Im from gainesville and there are so many gator haters right now it’s ridiculous! People telling me now that Tebow is gone the ride is over but I tell them this ride is just beginning. Success breeds envy and I talk much shit when it comes to my gators and they hate it. I love being a gator in big 10 country, they hate me and I love it!

    by porters quarters


  6. April 27th, 2010 10:25 am

    ga gator — I think he’s extremely solid to UF. When I spoke to him he told me straight up that he isn’t looking around and is enrolling at UF early. Now, this is recruiting and anything can happen, but I think he saw what he needed to see during Florida’s spring practice. It also doesn’t hurt one bit that Tim Tebow was taken in the first round. That should give him even more confidence about playing in Florida’s offense.

    by Edward Aschoff


  7. April 27th, 2010 2:45 pm

    What is really great about the last three drafts really is that there isn’t any one position where we are producing draft results. Outside of running back, there are players coming out at pretty muchevery position. This means we aren’t being pidgeon holed into a position school (LBU or QBU…). This is an awesome situation for recruiting and I am hoping Moody, Rainey or Demps starts to change the RB perception in the not too distant future.

    What’s more, the performance of the players is starting to address the bias that has existed at WR since Spurrier. Bubb C., Percy and Louis M. have all started to show that this is a new kind of Gator. If Tebow is even moderately successful, and Brantley ends up being the player we think he will I think we can finally shake the QB stigma too.

    It is truly great to be a Gator at the moment! It is especially gratifying that the character and competitiveness of our guys is starting to become the expectation (and blazing speed of course!) :’)

    I love that Tebow moved up while Clausen moved down over character perceptions in spite of the widely held belief that Clausen is far more developed physically as a player. What better recruiting tool is there for all the moms and dads out there? :’)

    by Gator Tom - '85


  8. April 27th, 2010 5:08 pm

    What happened to Brandon James and David Nelson. I can’t believe that James was not drafted.

    by GatorInBama


  9. April 28th, 2010 7:18 am

    gwgator, you are right. The only thing the Orgeron’s and Gran’s of the world can say to recruits now is “you’re not good enough to play at UF, come to our school”.

    by Steve


  10. April 28th, 2010 10:54 am

    Notice how many of those kids played HS ball in Florida? Many of the draftees from GA and TN as well. Excellent insight gwgator! Alot of kids go to other places where they know they will play. (Or can’t meet academic or personal conduct requirements.)

    by Mark


  11. April 29th, 2010 11:34 am

    Kudos to Porters Quarters for standing strong in the Big 10 because yes there are GATORhaters everywhere. I went to GA with my flags and tags flying in da win LOL And yep, they were hating there to

    by ComeCorrectGator


  12. May 3rd, 2010 3:57 am

    Who cared after the fourth pick? Three Sooners were taken by then. UF may have gotten an informercial, but OU won the award bor best in class!

    by RedSox31


  13. May 3rd, 2010 11:49 am

    You can just hear porters quarters’ voice go up two octaves at the end of each sentence. Very convincing. LOL!

    by RedSox31


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