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Gators Pledge Bryce Lovett: 'I Don't Know Why You Would Go Anywhere Else'

Florida Gators offensive line commit Bryce Lovett discusses his decision to pledge to UF, relationship with coaches, fit on the offensive line and more.

On Monday, the Florida Gators reeled in their fifth commitment of the 2023 recruiting cycle with Rockledge offensive lineman Bryce Lovett announcing the pledge on his birthday.

Growing up in the state of Florida, Lovett has had the opportunity to see a collection of Gators memorabilia pass him by throughout his childhood and young adulthood. Ranging from license plates, bumper stickers, t-shirt’s, hats and more, the Rockledge High School tackle is no stranger to the importance of the logo. 

Now, the merchandise he sees around his hometown over the next few months will serve as a constant reminder of his life-altering decision to continue his football career there. That is a part of the journey that makes his commitment to the University of Florida so surreal.

He spoke to AllGators about his decision to commit to the orange and blue, his relationship with the staff, where they see him fit and more following his announcement.

“It felt great because I've actually been committed since the spring game,” Lovett told AllGators. “But, it didn't feel real until today. It just all hit me at one time. Just to have that feeling, just put that hat on and be able to say ‘I’m a Florida Gator.”

Visiting Florida five times since his initial visit when the new staff offered him in January, Lovett has had a chance to learn in-depth about what the school and program offers. 

However, it doesn’t stop there. His consistent presence on campus has resulted in a strong bond for him and multiple coaches he will be surrounded by in the future.  

“So, the first time is when I got my offer,” Lovett said. “They offered me and then that day there was like a little like seminar about NIL, what they do for the food, class, like we looked at all the school buildings, where they study and everything.

“The second time and after that, I started watching practice or going to meetings and just building my relationship with other coaches. My relationship with all them is great. I talk to them on a daily basis. They come down to see me, I go up to see them. So it's just like, a really good relationship where we talk about everything.”

In the world of recruiting, connections with the people in the building can be the difference between committing to one school over another. It’s the reason Billy Napier and company have put so much emphasis on that aspect of the talent-acquisition process since they arrived. 

Entering Monday with a top four that consisted of Iowa State, Missouri, Louisville and, of course, Florida, Lovett felt that the Gators staff elevated themselves from the pack from a relational standpoint as well as their detailed plan for the future.

“I think mainly the staff,” he said when asked about the drawing factor to UF. “Just what they're doing for the program and the players on and off to see it was just like, you can't get anything better than that.”

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Occupying a spot on the offensive line, an area that has received copious amounts of attention — positive and negative — in recent years, Lovett had a strong initial impression of the emphasis on the trenches. 

A large part of that was the fact that on top of the two full-time position coaches (a rarity for any program around the country) in Rob Sale and Darnell Stapleton, Florida had another assistant Cheston Blackshear, a graduate assistant and a strength and conditioning coach all dedicated to the offensive line.

 “They’re building UF up to be great again, and it starts with the o-line,” he said. “So that's why they're recruiting good o-lineman. They’ll start there and then build off that.

“Because they got that dedication to you on the o-line, I don't know why you would go anywhere else as an offensive lineman.”

Lovett steps into the fold as a tackle prospect by the staff’s evaluations. Standing at 6-foot-5, 330 pounds, Lovett’s height suggests a spot on the exterior offensive line is in order despite his average arm length.

However, his most intriguing trait is his versatility.

“They want me to play tackle but if I have to move in I can. They like that a lot,” Lovett said. “I could literally play anything on the line on both sides. I mean, they saw that today (Monday). They came to practice today. We were doing one-on-ones, I did my tackle reps and then I just went and got a center rep and I won with ease. I got a good snap too.

“So, they see I can be versatile over the line. Once they saw they, they obviously believed me and when I get there, I feel like they could work with me wherever I need to be.”

In an attempt to maximize his skill set, the staff plans to reconfigure his body when he steps foot on campus as early as next January.

That being said, he plans to be in Gainesville again well before then.

Completely locked into his commitment, Lovett will neglect his five allotted official visits offered by the NCAA as a sign of dedication to the Gators. He will, however, officially visit his future home on the June 3 weekend.  

In his final statement before ending the interview with AllGators, Lovett shouted out the support he received from Gator Nation following his decision to continue his playing career at UF.

“Thank you all for supporting me and go Gators! You’re gonna get a hard-working player to put on for you."

Stay tuned to AllGators for continuous coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow along on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and Florida Gators on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.