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Coach Napier and How He Impacts Recruiting in Florida

How Billy Napier and the Gators finish out the 2022 recruiting class is important to the Gators and every other program in the Sunshine State.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - With the Florida Football program hiring Billy Napier away from the University of Louisiana, the Gators are seeking the best way to sign as many top prospects as possible. How that transition plays out impacts their program now, and it could be a sign of what’s to come.

To that end, Coach Napier has been a successful coach at Clemson, Alabama, Colorado State, and Arizona State prior to being the Head Coach for the University of Louisiana. He’s experienced and well traveled. It’s going to be interesting to see how he attacks recruiting between now and the Dec. 15 national signing day.

On the Road Recruiting

From the intel that Inside The Knights received in the last 24 hours, Coach Napier is active with recruiting and will be doing multiple in-home visits this week, at least as much as he can be while adjusting his living situation and attempting to hire an assistant coaching staff.

These next two weeks will be as busy as Napier will ever be. Tough time to recruit, but it’s an absolute must. To that end, he’s possibly making a splash along the recruiting trail fairly soon.

Commitment Likely Coming

Recruiting can catch you by surprise, and with all the moving parts at Southern California, Oklahoma, Florida and now LSU and Notre Dame, it would seem difficult to project any particular recruit committing about any place and believing anything before the dust settles.

That’s especially the case with any elite recruit.

Well, a certain high school coach has passed along the information that a meeting with Coach Napier should lead to a commitment to the Gators. With that stated, something to think about.

If Coach Napier already made an impact on a recruit in his short time in Gainesville, that’s a good sign for the orange and blue. To that end, this decision may not be public until Dec. 15, so keep that in mind. He’s definitely a big-time player, however.

Onto the Gators’ class and how it could impact other programs in the Sunshine State.

Will Napier be Aggressive in Recruiting the Gators’ Current Commitments?

This is especially of interest to programs like Miami, UCF and Florida State. If the new staff does not want to sign any one particular player that committed to the prior Florida coaching staff, that could lead to prospects signing with any one of the Hurricanes, Knights, or Seminoles.

It’s too early to say which exact Florida commitments will stick with the Gators during this coaching change, and that’s true even if they stated something publicly declaring their allegiance to Florida.

Recruits are smarter than many realize. They can also play the recruiting game while looking around and communicating with other programs. Let’s see which commitments actually sign with the Gators that are committed right now on Nov. 30.

As of today, Florida has 12 commitments, seven of which hail from inside the state of Florida borders. With the inevitable scenario of Florida State contacting Florida recruits about changing their commitment status, there’s also a chance of history repeating itself.

Back to the Old Days?

For those individuals old enough, remember when former Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden and former Florida Head Coach Steve Spurrier used to battle for top prospects down South? Especially those players in the Central Florida area, as well as throughout the Panhandle of Florida, those were some incredible battles because players in those areas were so familiar with Florida and Florida State.

Here’s to hoping that Coach Napier and current Florida State Head Coach Mike Norvell trend in that direction. It is fun to cover exciting in-state recruiting battles, and one can bet that UCF and Miami will be involved with those battles as well. Both Head Coach Gus Malzahn and Head Coach Manny Diaz get after it on the recruiting trail. Then again, Coach Napier could be heading off to some new areas that’s now familiar with.

New Coach, New Recruiting Territory?

Coach Napier is now familiar with Louisiana and Texas. He actually signed six Lone Star State prospects in 2021, as well as five more in 2020. While Florida is no stranger to the state of Texas borders and its recruits, this might mean the Gators head off to sign more out of state talent than normal with Coach Napier at the controls.

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For UCF coverage and recruiting information go to: The Daily Knight podcast. For more college football, UCF and recruiting information, go to Twitter: @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as my YouTube Channel and Instagram page. Like and Subscribe!

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