It was a pretty tough senior year for Asheville, N.C., defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan.
His high school team finished 8-4 and out of reach for a state title, and he saw his season cut short after tearing the MCL and PCL in his right knee. Though he underwent successful surgery, Pagan won’t be completely healthy until next fall.
Adding insult to Pagan’s devastating injury, the one-time Florida commit watched as the Gators’ defensive line coach (Dan McCarney) left to be the North Texas head coach and then Florida’s Urban Meyer resigned.
The loss of McCarney triggered Pagan’s November decommitment, but Meyer stepping down almost severed all ties Pagan had with Florida.
“After Coach McCarney left, I felt like there was (uncertainty) there,” Pagan said. “I needed to get my head together. I waited until there was a d-line coach there before I stepped back into the loop of things.”
Now, Pagan says Florida is back in his good graces. He’s down to five schools and Florida is one of them. Though he’s only talked to new Florida coach Will Muschamp once, he is hoping to visit Gainesville and get to know him and defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Dan Quinn better. Nothing has been finalized, but Pagan said he’s trying to visit Florida on Jan. 28.
Pagan said he’s still waiting to speak with Muschamp again, but is already intrigued by the possibility of being coached by an NFL guy in Quinn.
“I’d love to be coached by somebody like that,” Pagan said.
But Muschamp and his crew have some ground to make up. Pagan lists Georgia, Clemson and Alabama above Florida, who is joined by Tennessee to round out his favorites. The team that seems to be generating the most interest in Pagan is Clemson.
Close to home, Clemson seems to be the most comfortable place for Pagan, right now.
“For me, it’s only an hour and 45 minutes down the road,” Pagan said of Clemson. “They treat me like I’m one of their own. I feel like a home atmosphere there. Plus, my mom, that’s an easy drive for her to come see me.”
Another factor in Pagan’s recruitment could be where his buddy Stephone Anthony goes. The Wadesboro, N.C., Anson linebacker has grown close to Anthony and Pagan joked that both are “most definitely” a package deal to one lucky school.
The two schools they have in common just happen to be Clemson and Florida.
Though he isn’t 100 percent sure they will go to the same school, Pagan said there will be discussions about it between the two before any decision is made.
“Getting next to him and playing with him would make things that much sweeter,” he said.