Photo: Trey Smack; Credit: Zach Goodall
It's never a surprise to see commitments under a previous coaching staff back off after a change happens, but sometimes the players commit to the school, not the coaching staff.
That's what occurred with placekicker Trey Smack out of Severna Park (Md), who signed with UF during the early signing period in December after previously committing with the program under former head coach Dan Mullen.
Speaking with reporters during his visiting weekend on Sunday, Smack indicated just that - he committed to the school, not the coach.
"I committed to the school and I wouldn't say I committed to the coaching staff or anything about it, but I'm a student-athlete first. And that's just how it is," said Smack, who is getting to know the new coaching staff more by the day.
"I thought it was a great experience to come here and get to meet [head] coach Billy Napier and new special teams coordinator, or I should say Game Changer coordinator now."
Florida's "Gamechanger" coordinator is essentially a different title, in name, for coach Chris Couch. He will coach the team's special teams from an analyst role, including Smack, who hopes to become the next name in a long line of talented Florida specialists that have made their way to the NFL.
The latest of the kickers to come out of Florida, making big-time kicks at the professional level is kicker Evan McPherson, who was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round of last year's draft.
McPherson would go on to kick a 52-yard game-winning field goal for the Bengals this weekend to send them to the AFC Championship Game, one win away from a Super Bowl.
Smack knows both of the McPherson brothers, Evan and Alex McPherson, who is now signed with Auburn in the 2022 recruiting class.
"You know, the kicking community is pretty tight I'd say," said Smack. "But Florida is a really a good reason why I came here because the kickers here, like Eddy Penierio in the league, he's with the Jets right now."
The Gators have a couple of other specialists currently in the NFL, too, with both Tommy and Johnny Townsend. Tommy is currently with the Kansas City Chiefs, while Johnny is currently a free agent, but had previously spent four years in the league.
Napier spent time and visited with Smack last week for an in-house visit. With the new coaching staff, Smack explained the differences between Napier's group and Mullen's.
"It's just a little bit more motivating. I could tell just a little bit more motivating and everything."
While on-the-field has seemingly improved for Smack, off-the-field was just as important, seeing all that Gainesville has to offer, which impressed the young specialist.
"Oh, it was awesome," Smack said of his tour of the area. "You know, I got to really see what the community is about and all the fans and, you know, students, other students, so you know, I love it. I love it here. That's why I committed here."
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