Meyer hires RB assistant

Published: Saturday, January 22, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 22, 2005 at 12:42 a.m.
Florida football coach Urban Meyer has moved quickly to fill the vacancy on his coaching staff created by the departure of Mike Locksley, naming Stan Drayton the Gators' new running backs coach Friday, the day two top tailback prospects were scheduled to arrive in town for their official weekend visit.
"Coach Drayton is a great addition to our coaching staff," Meyer said. "We were looking for a coach who had extensive experience coaching running backs with a proven track record.
"We were looking for an outstanding recruiter, a great teacher of the game and someone who understood the philosophy of our football program. Coach Drayton is all of that and more. We are excited to have him and his wife join our Gator family."
Drayton, 33, spent the 2004 season as the running backs coach at Mississippi State. The previous three seasons, he worked with the Green Bay Packers as the NFL team's offensive quality control coach and assistant special teams coach. He was hired at MSU by head coach Sylvester Croom, who had worked with Drayton with the Packers.
Before joining the Packers in 2001, Drayton worked eight years in the college ranks, including a five-month stint at Bowling Green in 2001 as Meyer's running backs coach and special teams coordinator.
He earlier served as an assistant coach at Villanova and helped the Wildcats reach the 1996 and 1997 Division I-AA playoffs.
Before that, he spent one-year stints at Pennsylvania, Eastern Michigan and Allegheny College, his alma mater.
Drayton has been instrumental in the development of several standout running backs, including two-time All-American and current Philadelphia Eagle Brian Westbrook. This past season, Drayton coached MSU standout Jerious Norwood, who rushed for 1,050 yards in 2004 and scored the winning touchdown in the Bulldogs' upset of Florida in Starkville, a defeat that cost UF coach Ron Zook his job.
"I'm proud to be part of the Florida football program," Drayton said. "I was fortunate to be around Coach Meyer when he began his head coaching career at Bowling Green and I'm thrilled to be reunited with him in Gainesville."
Drayton's recruiting prowess will be tested right away, with top running back prospects Antone Smith (Pahokee) and Kestahn Moore (Arlington, Texas) visiting campus this weekend.
Drayton was a three-year starter as a running back at Allegheny and a three-time first-team All-American. He holds the Division III single-season record for touchdowns scored per game.
He also was a two-time All-American in track and field, competing in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Drayton replaces Locksley, the UF running backs coach and recruiting coordinator who left on Jan. 11 to become Zook's offensive coordinator at Illinois.
You can reach Robbie Andreu at andreur@gvillesun.com or by calling (352) 374-5022

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