I know they say you can't have jet lag if you don't cross a time zone, but I disagree.
Well, it's Monday morning and I am back at George Washington High in Philadelphia, back from my first official visit. The trip to Gainesville to check out Florida is now done and I am gearing up for this weekend and a flight to Los Angeles to check out USC. First thing's first, though: this past weekend was fantastic.
The heat didn't get me too much. This past summer, I made some visits down in Florida. I attended Friday Night Lights and Football University's Top Gun camp. So this time around, I was ready for the heat and the humidity.
Let me first start off by saying that everything about Florida was amazing. I have never heard a crowd like that before. They say that it is arguably the loudest stadium in the country. I don't know who would argue against that, it was that loud. When Tennessee fumbled the ball, the entire stadium as one yelled "Ball!" Wow, that was impressive. I couldn't help but look around in awe.
I got into the airport at 1 p.m. and was picked up by a member of the Florida staff. I threw all my gear into the Suburban and headed straight to the stadium. You can see that thing from miles away, all orange and blue. Crazy.
I had a quick meal and then got to meet with some of the coaches after registering. Spoke with coach Brian White and coach Dan McCarney and also met Urban Meyer. He's someone I've grown close to over the past few months. We speak once or twice a week -- sometimes I call, sometimes he'll call me.
After that, I went to the hotel and got settled in. Then I was taken to the players' lounge that the team stays at in the hotel for all home games. We got to hang out, and I got to talk some more with the coaches. They wanted to know how and why I got started with football. I should have told them to just look at me! They also wanted to know about my life, about my family.
I liked the fact that they care about me on and off the field.
Then, I was taken on campus to hang out with some of the players who are redshirts this year. It gave me a taste of campus life and to see how they live. I got to hang out and live the life of a college football player. It was a great time.
I slept well, so well that I missed breakfast on Saturday morning. That's okay, it just means a bigger lunch, right? I had a pre-game meal with some of the ladies from the athletics department. We laughed hard. It was good to just have those chill moments and let them see me for who I am, and vice versa.
The game was an incredible experience. I have never seen anything like it. After the game, all the recruits were escorted down to the locker room and I got to hear coach Meyer and his post-game speech and the singing of the victory song. That's great stuff.
I can tell you all about Saturday night and checking out the local scene with some of the guys, but it's not too interesting. What I can tell you is that Florida is a family atmosphere. They really care about each other. Everyone likes to spend time together.
Every Thursday, the defensive line coach's wife bakes everyone on the line cupcakes. I heard that they're killer. Then on Friday, she makes cookies. I don't want to brag, but I am a bit of a baking connoisseur. Unfortunately, I got in too late on Friday for the cookies and no one saved me any cupcakes from Thursday.
I might just hold that against Florida in the long run! I'm just kidding, but I do know my brownies, cookies and cupcakes.
The great thing about Florida is their mentality. They don't brag about being No. 1, they just go out there and do it. They believe in showing what they can do. The coaches told me on Sunday that they think all my experiences, the adversity and trials, have shaped me into a mature young man. They think I have the right mentality to fit in.
On Sunday, coach Meyer and I got some time alone. We talked football, we talked family. He told me flat-out that they really need me at Florida. I took that in and then asked him why they needed me so badly. His answer was a great one: "We've watched your film, we don't just like you, we love you."
I was close to Florida before this visit and nothing has changed after this visit. I didn't commit to the program. Coming off an official visit, you're into the hype. I want to give it some time to process.
That's why I didn't commit and I don't think I'll commit right on the spot. I want to commit for the right reasons, and not based on emotions.
All told, it was a great weekend. I give it a nine out of 10. The Florida girls are so pretty -- I've never seen so many females like that in one place, at one time.
Like I said last time, buckle up, it's going to be a fun ride.