Big weekend a big success

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Before we know it,
Florida will have yet another top 10 recruiting class.

It’s
hard for anyone to compete with the Gators at this point. Sure,
everyone has their football recruits visit basketball games, but how
many schools have recruits visit basketball games during a national
championship celebration?

Beautifully planned, Mr. Meyer.

The Gators
had arguably their biggest recruiting weekend this season at the
perfect time. The nation’s No. 2 running back, Trent
Richardson, was on hand to watch a few Gator players and coaches
hoist the national championship trophy at Saturday’s Arkansas
game, while vigorous UF students chanted his name from the stands as
he stood near the Gator bench.

UF had Dre Kirkpatrick, whom
Rivals.com rates as the No. 1 cornerback in the country, in town
watching Joe Haden walk around like a celebrity on and off campus.
Jarvis Jones spent ample time with defensive coordinator Charlie
Strong, who molded UF into the ninth-ranked defense. And Greg Reid,
despite his recent decommitment from UF, was inside the O’Connell
Center watching the love that he could have a year from now if he
were to recommit. Too bad he slept for most of what
was a pretty good game of basketball as well.

Besides witnessing
the love that fans gave the defending champs, these kids got to see
the love that athletes on this campus share with one another. As the
Gator basketball team returned just before the start of the
second half, something happened. Nick Calathes high-fived Tim Tebow.
Chandler Parsons hugged Haden. Walter Hodge gave Chris Rainey a chest
bump and Alex Tyus ran over to put his arm around David Nelson. When
players talk about UF being a real home away from home and a true
family, they’re right, and that’s why Urban Meyer and his crew
are able to reload each year.

“It’s
almost the perfect setup for them,” Adam Gorney of Rivals.com
said of UF’s recruiting weekend. “You had the best player
in college football (Tebow) telling the fans that he’s going to
be fine for spring practice after surgery. You had the head coach and
the defensive coordinator standing in the middle of the court pumping
the fans and students up about the season ahead. Those environments
don’t happen a lot in college football.

“Florida
couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to have this. I think
a lot of kids came out with a better feel for Florida.”

But
there’s always a catch with such big recruiting weekends at
this time of year.

These prospects still have a couple more weeks to
decide on their colleges of choice, and chances are UF won’t get
to host them again – at least not officially.

It’s
tough for the coaches and fans that have to sit back now and think
about what each recruit has in mind. Luckily for
UF, it has a last big hurrah with recruits this weekend.

Just
another couple of days for kids to get a last look at the hottest
program in the country.