BRADENTON, Fla. -- Florida has long been in pursuit of elite high school offensive tackles to no avail in the Dan Mullen era of Gators football. The hope for UF is that this trend will come to an end in the recruiting class of 2022.
At the top of Florida's offensive tackle board is IMG Academy lineman Tyler Booker, who took his first official visit to UF on June 4-6. The 6-foot-5, 325-pound trench monster shared some insight into his recent stop by campus during the Under Armour Future 50 event on Saturday.
“It was amazing. It was a great first visit. Everything I've ever dreamed of," Booker exclaimed.
"The thing I took away from it the most is, I just felt like a priority, for one. And two, I just saw how the other players interacted with each other, how it was like a real brotherhood, family mentality amongst the group ... I didn't feel like I was a recruit. I just felt like I was one of the guys.”
Booker was hosted by fellow offensive lineman Richie Leonard during his trip to Gainesville, whom Booker claims to be a lot alike due to their mellow, but funny attitudes. Booker also spent time with Florida defensive lineman Zach Carter, linebackers Mohamoud Diabate and Chief Borders, and safety Kamar Wilcoxson, along with fellow recruits in quarterback Nick Evers, wide receiver Evan Stewart, defensive lineman Walter Nolen and IMG comrade Jihaad Campbell on his visit.
The most important relationship that Booker built upon at Florida, however, was with offensive line coach John Hevesy. The two studied Booker's high school film at one point which led Hevesy to offer some feedback on his game, something that Booker claimed to be grateful for.
"He was just talking about my hips, how fast I open them and how I shouldn't open them as soon as am. Just, my speed out of my stance and things like that," Booker shared. "It was just, like, little things that I incorporated today. So to see that he helped my game improve off of a 10-minute film session shows me a lot of what he can do with me."
Hevesy has told Booker that the Gators prefer the prospect playing tackle at the next level, but understands Booker's versatility and ability to slide along the interior part of Florida's offensive line should he wear orange and blue in college.
Other colleges understand that as well and are pursuing Booker's talents just as heavily as Florida. The day following Future 50, Booker will make his way across the country for an official visit to Oregon. After a day of rest back at home in Connecticut, Booker will head to Georgia, then Ohio State the next day, and Alabama two days after that.
Booker has loaded up a busy schedule for official visits over the next week and some change with a goal to make his final college commitment in July.
"I just want to feel like I'm at home and I want to be comfortable with at that school," Booker said. "I want to see myself there removed [from football]. I want to know if I can to myself there as a regular student and not a student-athlete."