Pictured: Billy Napier and the Florida Gators; Credit: Alex Shepherd
Spring football is officially over for the Florida Gators and freshman head coach Billy Napier. The stage is now set for the program to enter the summer schedule with a lot of promise, but it also enters with a lot of questions.
Questions will not only come from how the team will ultimately look in the fall in terms of wins and losses, but also how it will look in terms of the roster itself. There are changes to be made, absolutely, and Napier and his team will turn to the transfer portal in order to make those adjustments.
At least that’s what Napier said following the program’s Orange and Blue spring scrimmage last Thursday. While the coach wouldn’t go into detail about which positions the Gators will be targeting, he did say they are looking for players who can improve the team.
“From a personnel perspective and everything we do, we want to make every decision in the best interest of the team,” Napier said. “There will be an opportunity. I don’t necessarily think we would turn down a good player, a player who can get it in both of our depths and make our team better, that’s what we’re looking for.”
Of course Florida wouldn’t turn down a good player, the team needs multiple positions including defensive line, wide receiver and maybe tight end and linebacker depending on how the team feels after the game. entry of new students into the fray.
However, getting players that not only fit the program but also the culture will prove vital moving forward as the program rebrands itself, so to speak.
Napier was asked this question as a follow-up last Thursday, curious to know how the team would operate when programs often have maybe weeks, days or even hours to pursue and land a high-profile prospect who chose to transfer by drop of a tithe.
For the Gators, their team of recruiting assistants, as well as other relationships that coaches or others within the program have with those players, will be extremely important, he said.
“You know the player, maybe someone in the building recruited the player, someone in the building is connected to the area. But you’re right, it’s a challenge,” admitted Napier.
“What you are [The Athletic’s Andy Staples] describing it is exactly what happens every day in our building. A guy comes in or [the] the rumor mill starts to swirl, this guy walks in. That’s why we have a whole group of people in the back, that’s what they do every day.
Florida’s recruiting support staff is huge. The program has more than 10 support staff who directly or indirectly deal with recruitment into the program. These include college personnel manager Bird Sherrill and college personnel/campus recruiting assistant Chase Clarke, whom Napier has identified as essential to their work within the portal.
Staff can do a ton of work that never happens, just because the player chooses to go elsewhere, but the work is done around the clock. Still, that’s a quick turnaround for an overall assessment , which makes it all the more important that the program be cautious. You can’t go wrong, says Napier.
“Until now among the youngsters, the players that we added to our squad, we had a connection with them before they came here,” he said. “I think that’s what you’re going to see for the most part in the future. But for me, I’m kind of like you describe him, I want to make sure we check guys before making a decision”
The Gators aren’t just going to take every player that might come across the ticker on recruiting sites. They won’t just make a call that could potentially change a whole bunch of positions because the player has potential, Is. The call will be made for players who match, both in the program on the grill and also in the program from a cultural point of view.
It’s a long journey to find the right fits, and while it won’t happen as quickly as people would like, Napier seems confident the Gators will be able to find players that fit and make sure that it is for the good of the whole. team. Now, more than ever, support personnel will come in handy, and Napier’s army will be ready.
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