Will Muschamp found out over a decade ago.
The hard way.
“He’s an outstanding recruiter,” Muschamp said last week. “I ran across Brent about 12-14 years ago. I was at Valdosta State and he was at Northern Arizona. We were both recruiting a guy out of Lowndes County, Vincent ‘Sweet Pea’ Burns. He got [him] to leave Lowndes County to go to Northern Arizona, so right then I knew he could recruit.”
Burns signed with Northern Arizona in 2000 and made 27 tackles in nine games as a freshman. The next year he transferred to Kentucky and had two successful seasons with the Wildcats.
Burns was a tw0-time All-SEC selection (second team) by The Associated Press and the UK coaching staff named him the Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2003. He led the SEC in tackles for loss (18) that season. Burns was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL Draft, but a freak knee injury ended his pro career after just two seasons.
The fact that Burns followed Pease to Lexington shows the strength of their relationship, and he was the first of many Pease-recruited prospects that produced on the field.
“He does a great job developing relationships with people, and that’s all recruiting is,” Muschamp said. “Doing a good job of evaluating — which he’s done at Boise [State]. He signed two wideouts who were selected in the first three rounds [of the 2011 NFL Draft]. So obviously he’s a good evaluator … and he’s done a good job of developing players when they get on campus.”
The pair of receivers Muschamp mentioned were Austin Pettis and Titus Young. Pease recruited both of them and was their positional coach.
Pettis finished his Boise State career as the school’s all-time leader in both receptions (229) and touchdown catches (39). He was taken by the St. Louis Rams in the 3rd round and had 27 catches for 256 yards as a rookie.
Young caught a total of 204 passes for 3,063 yards and 25 touchdowns with the Broncos and was selected in the 2nd round by the Detroit Lions. He hauled in 48 receptions for 607 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Pease was also the primary recruiter for Boise State wide receiver Matt Miller and running back D.J. Harper. In 2011, Miller’s 62 receptions were tied for first on the team and Harper was the Broncos’ second-leading rusher.
The new UF coordinator has some experience in the Sunshine State too, with his most recent commitment coming from Orlando, Fla., Dr. Phillips dual-threat quarterback Nick Patti.
“He’s recruited throughout the state of Florida,” Muschamp said. “Mostly in the panhandle and north central region, but he’s also recruited in the Orlando area and Jacksonville. He’s very versed in this state.”
Pease will primarily target quarterbacks for the Gators and his future recruiting areas should be determined soon. But for now, Muschamp believes his track record on the headset and recruiting trail will excite the 2012 prospects.
“Any time you’re this late in the stage of recruiting, any question marks or issues you need to address — now we’ve addressed them,” Muschamp said. “Any recruit and any player at the University of Florida ought to be excited about who we hired and where we’re headed with this thing.”