Byron Cowart and CeCe Jefferson have been put on notice.
The five-star in-state prospects are Florida’s top targets at defensive end, one of the biggest positional priorities for UF in the 2015 recruiting cycle.
The first-round selections of Jadeveon Clowney and Dominique Easley, both former players of defensive line coach Brad Lawing, will help the Gators in their recruitment of Cowart and Jefferson as well as other defensive linemen.
However, Jefferson has visited UF four times in the past two months, with his mother meeting Lawing on his most recent trip. The Gators are a close second behind the Ducks for Cowart thanks to the 25-year coaching veteran.
“Florida is still up there big time,” Cowart said. “Brad Lawing just stands out to me. He’s a great coach and knows how to get me to the next level.”
Clowney, who mentioned Lawing in his post-draft comments after being taken first overall by the Houston Texans, credited his former coach at South Carolina back in February for motivating him as a player.
“He was on me so hard my first two years before he left,” Clowney told NFL.com. So hard, I would say ‘Coach, why are you always on me so hard?’ He’d say ‘I get on guys that (aren’t) doing anything. Do you want to be great?’ I’d say ‘You know I want to be great.’ He’d say, ‘Well I’m here to help you be great, but I’ve got to push you.’ ”
“When he left, going into that next (junior) season, I was like, ‘Well, coach Lawing is gone, I’ve got nobody to push me now.’ So I pushed myself to be great, I had to learn to push myself for the first time. When he was there, I hated him for it, but when he left, I missed it. And I appreciate every bit of it.”
Easley was selected by the New England Patriots with the 29th pick, and he also spoke highly of Lawing during his draft process.
“He made me understand the defense and pass-rush schemes. I consider him to be a genius in pass-rush schemes,” Easley told GatorCountry.com. “It helped me out a lot, being coached by him. … He took me to another level. As I grew in maturity, he helped me grow more on the football field.”
— Brad Lawing (@CoachLawing) May 9, 2014
Man Brad Lawing coached clowney his freshman an sophomore year which was his best year's you do the math #GatortNation
— Byron Cowart (@ByronHawkStar99) May 9, 2014