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Past, Present, and Future Gators React to Billy Napier Hire

The Florida Gators sent shock waves around the country after hiring former UL head coach Billy Napier to replace Dan Mullen.

The Florida Gators made it official on Sunday, hiring former Louisiana head coach Billy Napier to replace Dan Mullen as the team's head coach moving forward. This came just one week, nearly to the very hour that athletic director Scott Stricklin announced the team was parting ways with Mullen.

When it was officially announced, Stricklin released a statement indicating that Napier was the only coach the program went after, and they landed their guy after a quick turnaround search.

“I’ve followed and studied Billy Napier’s career with interest, and he became the primary target immediately after this position came open,” Stricklin said. “We felt confident he would be an excellent leader for the Gators, which is why he was the only candidate I met with about the job.

“Billy’s ability to bring highly-talented people together - players, coaches, and staff - along with his vision for having a strong, relationship-based culture is what made him such an attractive choice.

"Add in how detailed his plan is for player development, staffing and recruiting, along with a sustained desire to improve, and it’s easy to see why he’s been successful."

The hire has, of course, ignited not only the fanbase as a whole but plenty of past, present and potential future Florida players as they look at the Florida football program.

It's an exciting time because of the new era of Florida football set to begin, but also because of the coach they're bringing in, in Napier, a respected coach that has recruited plenty of these players.

Even with the players making their opinions known about the hire, UL athletic director Bryan Maggard also chimed in, stating simply, "#ProudAD" in response to Napier's opportunity in front of him.

Here are some of the best reactions from each set of players.

Past players

Former Gators LB Alex Anzalone (2013-16) tweeted his excitement moments after the news that Napier would be hired.

Former Florida DL Adam Shuler (2018-19) apparently wants to be added to the Gators' staff after Napier was announced to be coming in.

A now popular statement made by Napier while he was the coach at UL, "Scared money don't make money!" Former Florida safety Major Wright (2007-09) shares his own excitement with that quote.

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Gators TE Tate Casey (2005-08) is ready to roll with Napier from here on out.

Former Gators defensive lineman Joey Ivie (2013-16) shares his enjoyment for the hire, talks about getting The Swamp back to where it used to be, likely winning National Championships given the trophy he put at the end.

Another former Florida safety, Ahmad Black (2007-10) suggests the team is maybe back to playing "BillyBall" whether that's a reference to former Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan or simply a play on the common idiom "bully ball," or both, remains to be seen, though.

A walk-on at Florida a few years ago, TE Clifford Taylor IV welcomes Napier to Gainesville.

Current players

While he's a current player, defensive lineman Zachary Carter is heading to the NFL and will not play under Napier. He did, however, send off his best to a potential future player, 2022 commit DT Chris McClellan.  

Gators running back Lorenzo Lingard hasn't had very many opportunities on the gridiron since transferring to Florida a couple of years ago, but he appears to be ready to work with Napier heading into one of his final seasons in college football.

Gators offensive tackle Richard Gouriage shares the now-famous Napier quote, "scared money don't make money" in response to the hire. A redshirt junior, it's not yet known whether or not Gouraige will use his final year of eligibility.

Florida sophomore WR Ja'Quavion Fraziars shares his excitement with the same quote that Gouriage used.

Future players

Florida 2022 recruit, QB Nick Evers shares his excitement to work with Napier once he's settled and Evers signs on the dotted line. He officially completely shut down his recruitment earlier.

2022 Gators WR commit Jayden Gibson out of West Orange (Fla.) seems excited about the Napier hire, too. He recently shut down his recruitment, 100% committed to the Florida football program.

We saw what 2022 Gators DT commit Chris McClellan out of Owasso (Okla.) said earlier when referenced to the Carter post, but he's excited for Napier, too.

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