College football recruiting has returned to its full glory since the start of June, and the 2022 recruiting cycle stands pertinent in the news cycle.
Attempting to rebuild lackluster position groups and bolster already strong aspects of the roster, Florida has anchored down their efforts to bring elite prospects into the fold.
While storylines will always rest in the immediate future, the Gators have failed to let classes beyond 2022 slip through the cracks, taking strides for acquiring talent further down the road.
A member of the pack that could easily be lost in the shuffle in the hectic period, Texas-based wide receiver Ashton Cozart visited Gainesville unofficially on the first day of the month, something he has looked forward to since the Gators offered in early April.
“The night they offered me, actually, they talked about [how] they’re having junior day on June 1, and they just wanted me to come and everything ... I was excited this was going to be my first visit.”
Being the first to host the high potential side receiver prospect, Florida impressed Cozart with what the campus and program had to offer.
“I was actually really shocked because as soon as I got here, it was nothing I have seen before. I was just shocked. The vibe I get here is perfect. I really love it here. I love Florida.”
Having a strong connection with the Gators via the fellow Texas-native and 7-on-7 teammate Nick Evers, Cozart has been pursued by the familiar face since his offer came in.
Following his visit, the draw of Florida has hit Cozart to a point where he looks to initiate conversations about UF down the line with his trusted source of information. “He talks to me every day talking about Florida, and after today I’m definitely going to start hitting him up about it.”
Embodying the combination of traits wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales has covered with pass catchers in the past, the early push for Cozart fits the mold of retooling Florida wideouts room.
Providing the potential to stretch the field with height, length and speed, Cozart — who stands 6-foot-2, 175 pounds and runs a 10.74 100-meter dash — is the prototype for the Gators wide receiver position, according to Gonzales.
“He likes how I’m a versatile receiver. People think of me as just a tall, big-bodied receiver, but I can really move. He said that’s perfect for the type of receivers he wants.”
Wanting to build a better relationship with the coaches going forward, Cozart is intrigued by the pitch being made to him by Gonzales at the moment.
“He’s talking about things he can help me do to better my game as a receiver,” Cozart said. “One thing that definitely stands out to me is that every single play, a single receiver always has multiple routes according to what the defense plays. So you have multiple chances to get open in different ways. That’s perfect. I love that.”
When asked if he had intentions to return to Gainesville, Cozart would confirm his intentions to make it back to the middle of the Sunshine State as his recruitment process continues into next year.
Proving to be one of the many visitors likely to make their decisions over a year from now, Cozart sits as a prime example for the uptick in Florida’s recruiting endeavors by emphasizing long-standing relationships to lure in talent.
While some may sweep 2023 prospects and beyond under the rug in the early portions of visits to accommodate for the lost time with 2022 prospects, Dan Mullen and company have shown their focus stretches beyond the “right here, right now.”