Once a FSU commit, Huggins all Gator

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[News-Journal/Lola Gomez]

By Chris Boyle, GateHouse Media Services

For nearly 6 months, Mainland safety John Huggins proudly identified himself as a Florida State commit. On Wednesday, he joined one of the Seminoles’ fiercest rivals.

Huggins, one of the first commits in the Dan Mullen era, signed his national letter of intent with Florida early Wednesday morning. He hopes to make a mark for a program which has pumped out upper-echelon defensive backs for the better part of a decade.

Since 2010, Florida has developed 11 NFL draft picks in the secondary alone, garnering the nickname “DBU” in the process.

“It’s honestly a blessing, and I’m looking forward to being a part of DBU and establishing it even more,” Huggins said. “I’ve talked to Chauncey Gardner and Jeawon Taylor, and they can’t wait for me to be a part of it. I’m ready for June.”

An All-Area honorable mention as a junior at Pine Ridge, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder had no college offers as recently as last February. Then, his stock rose significantly after flashing his athleticism at a Nike regional camp in Orlando.

He finished with 37 Division I scholarship offers, per 247Sports, ultimately choosing Florida over Florida State, Miami, Nebraska, North Carolina State and Louisville.

Less than an hour after Jimbo Fisher resigned as Florida State’s head coach and finalized a 10-year deal with Texas A&M on Dec. 1, Huggins decided to reopen his recruitment.

It didn’t take long for Florida to enter the picture. Huggins met with new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham at Mainland on Dec. 7, and again in Huggins’ home four days later.

“That really showed me how important I was to them,” Huggins said. “Coach Mullen texted me too, and told me he wanted me to be a Gator. They really wanted me to be there.”

In his lone season at Mainland, Huggins recorded 32 total tackles, three tackles for loss, six pass breakups and one interception. At Florida, Huggins believes he will have a chance to line up at corner, including in nickel packages, and blitz off the edge.

Until this past weekend, Huggins maintained a belief he would wait things out until February. His official visit changed everything, becoming enamored by the school’s academic reputation, the thought of playing in front of nearly 90,000 fans at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and a chance to stick it to the Seminoles once a year.

“I feel more satisfied with my commitment to Florida. I feel like it’s my home, and I belong there,” Huggins said.

“It feels like more of a family to me. I think them coming to me, making me a priority as soon as they got there, it was big to me. It really stood out. And that visit was probably the best visit I’ve ever had. I knew that’s where I wanted to be.”

15 COMMENTS

  1. Very pleased that John Huggins decided to become a Gator – welcome to the University of Florida, John – the Gator Nation awaits your arrival and backs you all the way – GO GATORS!!!

  2. Excellent catch seems a straight shooter good size reminds a lot of recently drafted safety playing for the falcons! So we can go after others like mob,olb,Ol, WR’s please go down to sfla and get thet speed ones your two TE’s are going to be excellent players which will open the middle lanes now target height, speed, good hands, mostly team first mentality!!!!!!!!!!! Good looking outside your comfort zone will get you better players go west, and stop being tunnel vision!!!! That will come back to bite you like a gator does he rolls his prey until they drown then store them in his den later for nourishment so stay away from comfortable areas go way out to get the Boone’s not on everybody list!! Do u know there a hs coach who never punts or fair catches the ball in Minnesota? So player’s are all over go to Hawaii get u big agile islanders for OL,stop being like everybody else playing it safe ur at ur dream school so live little go for it !!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Boy, that Gator-6 guy sure is a dud. Mullen put together a nationally ranked 14 recruiting class, with a good chance to go even higher. And he did it in amonth . This class is much better than almost all the new coaches. You should be thanking him, not criticizing.

    • Boy, that Pete guy sure doesn’t get sarcasm.

      More to the point, as of right this minute, 247Sports not only has us ranked 14 nationally (and 4th SEC), but while it has Miami at 5 nationally, it also has FSU at 34, USF at 55, and UCF at 73. That’s the under-story, and if that holds to any extent, nobody can say that we can’t recruit the State of Florida anymore.

      Boy, that Pete guy sure doesn’t get sarcasm. Throw me a bone Pete, I’m on your side!

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