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, we take a look at another one of Napier's outside hires wide receivers coach Keary Colbert.
Colbert, 39, is a former NFL wide receiver who spent seven years in the league, beginning his career as a second-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2004. His NFL career would nearly end following the 2009 season as a member of the Detroit Lions.
He would play one more season with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 before being waived on Nov. 23 of that year.
That's when Colbert decided to take off the cleats and teach young players how to be successful at the game as he was. He would start as a graduate assistant for USC from 2010-11 at the end of his playing career. He'd then become a volunteer coach at Pace Academy (2012) before jumping back into college football as the WR coach at Georgia State (2013).
Colbert's career would take off from there, joining Nick Saban's staff at Alabama as the program's offensive analyst (2014-15) before finally going back to his roots at USC as the team's offensive quality control coach (2016-17), tight ends/inside receivers coach (2018) and finally receivers coach (2019-21).
During his time as receivers coach, Colbert developed the likes of Michael Pittman, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Drake London.
Pittman has emerged as the Indianapolis Colts' No. 1 receiver over the last two seasons, posting over 1,000 receiving yards last year. As a rookie in 2021, St, Brown caught an outstanding 90 passes and five touchdowns for the Detroit Lions. London, meanwhile, was the first receiver selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, at No. 8 overall by the Atlanta Falcons.
It was at Alabama when Colbert and Napier's paths crossed for the first time. Napier was the program's receivers coach from 2013-16.
Though Colbert doesn't have two-plus decades of coaching experience, his pedigree and ability shown on the gridiron have spoken for themselves since he became a player in the recruiting world.
Without much time with the program, Colbert played a heavy role in bringing in some of the top talents that USC had over the past couple of years, including London, who has since been selected with the No. 8 overall pick in this year's draft.
In addition to London, Colbert was crucial in securing USC WR Kyle Ford, who is expected to play an expanded role for the Trojans this year.
Though Colbert's recruiting history is small, his coaching history isn't half bad, part of sending five players to the NFL, including Pittman, London, St. Brown, Robert Davis (Washington Commanders, Round 6, 2017) and tight end Jordan Cameron (Cleveland Browns, Round 4, 2011).
How it's going:
Colbert has already played a major role in Florida recruiting, including helping bring in athlete Arlis Boardingham (Ca.) into the fold for the 2022 recruiting class. Boardingham is expected to make it to campus this summer.
He was also the primary recruiter of fellow '22 pass-catcher Caleb Douglas. Douglas is also expected to join the program this summer and participate in the fall.
Thus far in the 2022 recruiting cycle, Colbert landed potential hidden gem receiver Tyree Patterson (Eustis, Fla) and local standout Creed Buchholz (Gainesville, Fla.).
"He's a great, great, great dude. I was very, very happy when we had got him, because looking at his history he has coached a lot of like bigger wide receivers. So just meeting with him for the first time I was like, 'Hey, I want you to coach me and I'm going to be this huge sponge that soaks in everything.'
"He's a great guy. He cares about every single player and he just coaches well. I feel like I've learned so much from him already, you know, and we're only two weeks into spring ball." - Gators WR Justin Shorter on Keary Colbert.
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