While we wait for the appeals process to play out for transfer wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Van Jefferson, this seems like a good time to look at why both decided to become Gators in the first place.
Grimes, the former Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas standout, already had a connection to UF. During the recruiting process, he visited Florida several times and nearly chose the Gators before deciding on Ohio State.
He decided to leave Ohio State after his true freshman season to be closer to a family member who is dealing with a health issue. He considered three options — UF, FSU and Miami, which is the closest to his home. What gave UF the edge is his familiarity with the program.
“I wanted to get somewhere closer to home and I knew it had to be in Florida,” Grimes said. “I looked at Miami. I looked at Florida State. But I felt that Florida would give me the best opportunity. With the new coaching staff coming in, I would be starting fresh just like all the other players.
“When I was in high school, Florida was in my top three. So, I already had a good idea of what Florida was like. They came down to be my top two. At the end of the day, I chose Ohio State, but just to be able to come back here, I kind of already knew what the program was like with the new coaching staff coming in. I talked to a couple of the players and they said they loved everything about it.”
Jefferson’s situation was a little different. He did not have much familiarity with the UF program, having played his high school ball in Tennessee. But he did have an idea what kind of coaches Dan Mullen and wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales are, having played against Mississippi State twice when he was at Ole Miss.
“I had a lot of schools that hit me up when I came out (from Ole Miss),” Jefferson said. “I took a visit to Michigan. I took a visit to Louisville. But when I came down here it was just different.
“Michigan is a great school too, but there was just something about Florida. Coach Gonzales and Coach Mullen when I came here really interested me. I just took the visit and felt like it was the place for me.”
Jefferson said he’s seen first-hand how effective Mullen’s offense can be and how he utilizes the wide receivers.
“I just believe in what Coach Mullen and Coach Gonzales are doing,” he said. “When I announced I was leaving Ole Miss and was considering schools, Florida called and I was interested. I came down here and visited and decided to come here.
“When (Mullen) was (at MSU) he had a lot of receivers that caught a lot of balls. Fred Ross and those guys. Seen that and playing against that, you see that a lot. When I was at Ole Miss I saw some of the things he was doing. I was kind of familiar with it. At Ole Miss we run the spread offense, we don’t run a pro. From what I saw, I liked it.”
Jefferson and Grimes had a major impact in the passing game in the spring, and both said they’re very happy at Florida.
They’ll be a lot happier, of course, if they receive a favorable ruling from the NCAA that would allow them to become immediately eligible. Once UF petitions the NCAA (which will happen soon), it won’t take long for a decision to be announced.