Photo: Patrick Toney; Credit: Alex Shepherd
When Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier was introduced as the team's next head coach, he promised the Gator Nation an "army" when describing his incoming coaching staff.
The staff would consist of assistants who have gotten recognition around the college football world as some of the best in the game.
"We're going to hire an army of people here," Napier said on Dec. 5 last year. "We're going to create an infrastructure not only in the personnel department but also from an on-campus recruiting, creative media, name, image and likeness. We're going to create -- we've got a great vision for the organization that we're going to create here."
Napier, of course, was referring not only to the assistant coaches that he would eventually lock-in but also to the enormous support staff - comprised of 48 individuals that were eventually brought on to help build out the staff.
With that said, over the next couple of weeks, we at AllGators will be releasing profiles to get to know each assistant coach, including their background, recruiting history, quotes and more.
Next up, we will take a look at one of Napier's right-hand men, co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Patrick Toney.
Toney, 31, is a young up-and-comer in the realm of college football. Though he has years of experience at the FBS level, this will be his first opportunity to coach at the Power Five stage, beginning his coaching career at the prep level at Fallbrook (Calif.) High School as the team's defensive line coach (2008).
He would briefly coach at the junior college level in 2009 at Palomar (Calif.) College as a wide receivers coach before going back to the prep level as an offensive coordinator at La Costa Canyon High School (2010-11).
After that, Toney got his first crack at Division I football, an FCS program called Southeastern Louisiana, as a defensive assistant/secondary coach (2012-13) before being promoted as the team's safeties coach/special teams coordinator (2014).
From then, Toney's career would take off as he toured Texas for a bit, coaching up the Sam Houston State secondary (2015) before coaching safeties at UTSA (2016-17).
And then, Toney would finally meet Napier, who hired him away from UTSA to coach with him at Louisiana, becoming his safeties coach for two years (2018-20) before being promoted to the team's defensive coordinator/safeties coach (2020) and finally DC/outside linebackers coach (2021).
Toney's recruiting history is short due to his fast-tracked start in college football and the world of recruiting at the FBS level. However, he's already made an impact at Florida, becoming the team's primary recruiter for one of the top safeties in the 2022 recruiting class, safety Kamari Wilson, with help from corners coach Corey Raymond.
Toney also was the primary recruiter for 2022 Gators signees, linebacker Shemar James and safety Devin Moore.
Though he wasn't the man who brought them in, he has molded a few defensive backs into NFL-caliber players during his coaching career, including UL safety Percey Butler, who was selected by the Washington Commanders in the fourth round of this year's draft.
Toney also had a hand in putting Southeastern Louisiana players, cornerback Harlan Miller (Round 6, Arizona Cardinals) and Robert Alford (Round 2, Atlanta Falcons) into the NFL via the draft in 2016 and 2013, respectively.
How it's going:
Already briefly touched on, Toney played a significant role in Florida landing its first IMG Academy player in Wilson. Though fellow defensive back Kamar Wilcoxson attended IMG Academy for a short time, he ultimately never suited up for the high school.
Toney is also working hand-and-hand with Raymond on recruiting some of the best defensive backs in the country in the class of 2023 to Florida, including CB Cormani McClain (Lake Gibson, Fla) and AJ Harris (Central, Ala) among several others.
“I’ve been around a lot of coaches, right? I mean, I’ve worked in some of the best programs in the entire country. I’ve worked in some of the best programs in the entire country. I’ve worked with not only with some of the best head coaches but – it gets overlooked – (also) some of the best assistant coaches you get a chance to be around. And this guy … he knows what he’s doing.”- Napier on Toney
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