Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Note to New UF Coach: Stay Home

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Note to New UF Coach: Stay Home

Article excerpt

Byline: Chase Goodbread, Times-Union sports writer

A word of advice for the new Florida football coach, whoever ends up with the job: Concentrate on recruiting in-state this year, and let go of the superstars from Georgia and points north.

In the few days that UF has been coachless, several of the in-state commitments for its recruiting class have said they are standing by the program. They are the ones, generally, who have been life-long fans of the team, and they are are ones who have wanted to wear orange and blue since they were Pop Warner dreamers.

For them, it is about the program, not the coach.

And when it comes to filling out the rest of the signing class, in-state prospects are the ones the new coach will be able to count on.

For many of the out-of-state UF prospects, Steve Spurrier and his staff were the only real connection to the school. They're likely to be the least receptive to a new coach, and with the Sunshine State being one of the nation's richest talent pools, there are always players close to home who are about as good as Joe Superstar from Texas or Louisiana.

"I'm in a wait-and-see mode," said Quinn Pitcock, a 285-pound defensive lineman from Piqua, Ohio, and a Gators recruit. "I'm not sure what to think about it. I'm supposed to visit on the 25th, but I haven't heard anything from them since Spurrier stepped down."

Pitcock said UF line coach Jimmy Ray Stephens had been recruiting him. Pitcock certainly hasn't dropped Florida, but with options much closer to home like Ohio State and Penn State, who could blame him if he did?

The work-in-progress coaching staff at Georgia Tech is finding out much the same thing, where Peach State recruits such as Adam Jones and Terron Pullen immediately warmed to new coach Chan Gailey, and re-affirmed previous commitments. Out-of-state Tech targets, such as Louisiana tight end John Doucette, will be harder to corral.

UF's incoming staff should wait until next year to gas up the jet and go star-hunting across state lines. The talent here at home is plentiful, and more importantly, it's provincial. …

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