You gotta love Richard Ash’s honesty. The Pahokee defensive tackle is definitely playing the recruiting game. I caught up with the 6-foot-4, 263-pound lineman, whom Gator fans have been raving about for months, and it seems as though he loves the recruiting process.
Ash, who looks like a man-child on his video, said he grew up a Florida fan and that the orange and blue has been his favorite for a while. The Gators are so out in front for him that Ash said he’s pretty much given coach Urban Meyer his pledge but is holding off on making it official until he takes care of some business. And by business, I mean actually enjoying the life of being a top recruit.
“I already told coach Meyer I’m gonna be a Gator, but free visits means I get wined and dined,” said Ash, who plans to make his verbal commitment on Sept. 25.
Really? That’s awesome. Sure, he’s sort of leading on other schools – or making them turn the heat up and show even more love once he steps on campus – but he’s taking advantage of all the visits he gets. There’s always the possibility that he could fall out of love with Florida, or vice versa, but right now he’s playing it smart.
And just so Gator fans – and coaches – don’t get too worried about the possibility of getting played, Ash’s signature on his phone just happens to be “GAAAATTOORRSS!!”
Ash has been to Gainesville twice, and while he won’t be camping this June, he plans to come with teammate Chris Dunkley. Dunkley, who is one of the top receiver prospects in the country, has been quiet about recruiting for the most part. When I asked Ash where he thought Dunkley would be committing he left me with this: “It’s a secret.”
Secrets don’t make friends, Mr. Ash.
But in all seriousness, Ash’s recruiting philosophy got me thinking: If I were a top recruit, where would I visit with my five officials? Granted I was courted a bit in high school for my soccer skills, but never by any D-I teams, so why not (mentally) live the dream now?
I would have enrolled in the fall of 2004, but for relevancy, I’ll act as a 2010 recruit ..
* Florida: For any recruit not familiar with the Gainesville area, it doesn’t really offer that big-city feel, but it does have an aura of the Hollywood style for athletes. The women are gorgeous. The sky is usually blue. Nightlife is pretty cheap. Oh, and the program is the hottest one around these days.
* USC: Gainesville might have a Hollywood atmosphere at times, but this is the real Hollywood. Imagine visiting the coolest program in the country and having lunch with Pete Carroll and then turning around and having dinner with Will Smith. Can you say “Gnarly?”
* Texas: Austin epitomizes fun. There’s so much to do outside of campus that would make being a walk-on a pretty sweet gig. Plus, you’re in the heart of the football world. I’m a huge music fan, so hanging out in one of the best music cities around would be an added bonus.
* Penn State: Tradition. Tradition. Tradition. JoePa is the most interesting coach around and those fans really love their team. State College is all about Penn State football and the nightlife is amazing.
* Miami: South Beach. ‘Nuff said.