Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Comment Motivates UF's Fason; Gators Freshman Running Back Says Georgia Called Him 'Soft.'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Comment Motivates UF's Fason; Gators Freshman Running Back Says Georgia Called Him 'Soft.'

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael DiRocco, The Times-Union

GAINESVILLE -- As soon as Steve Spurrier resigned as Florida's coach in January 2002, Ciatrick Fason's phone started ringing.

Recruiters from schools across the country were calling, trying to convince the Fletcher High School running back to renege on his Florida commitment and sign a letter-of-intent to play for their school. Fason, though, held firm. He was going to play for the Gators no matter whom Athletics Director Jeremy Foley hired as head coach.

But even if he did change his mind, there was one school he would not consider. There was no way he was going to play for Georgia.

"When they were recruiting me, they told me I was kind of soft to play for them," Fason said Tuesday. "They just told me my style was too soft to play [their style of football].

"It really didn't matter. I just looked past them. They kind of recruited me late, but I always stuck with Florida because they recruited me through thick and thin."

That comment has stuck with Fason, and it's giving him even more motivation for Saturday's game against the No. 4 Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1 SEC) at Alltel Stadium other than keeping the No. 23 Gators (5-3, 3-2) alive in the SEC race.

"I kind of owe them a little bit," he said.

Fason said Georgia recruiting coordinator/defensive line coach Rodney Garner made that comment, but Georgia coach Mark Richt said he was unaware of the situation.

"I don't remember that, but I don't know what you want me to say about it," Richt said. "He's a heck of a football player. I can tell you that."

Florida coach Ron Zook said the situation may have just been a misunderstanding that happens pretty often during the recruiting process.

"In recruiting, there's a lot of times [where things get said]," Zook said. "You can't take everybody. Just like the corner [DeCory Bryant] that just got hurt [at Georgia], he and [offensive lineman] Max [Starks] are great friends. I said to Max, 'Why didn't you bring him here?' He said, 'Florida didn't recruit him.' That happens sometimes.

"I don't think Ciatrick's soft, and I promise you they don't think that, either."

LSU and Arkansas probably don't. …

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