Senior defensive end Justin Trattou has been through all the scary workouts and training regimens Florida’s coaching staff has to offer. He’s done the mat drills. He’s survived multiple St. Valentine’s Day Massacres. And he has a message for the freshmen waiting to get on campus this summer.
All that stuff you guys went through in high school ain’t squat compared to what you’ll go through in Gainesville.
“It’s always (hard to adjust) when you come in as a freshman, especially when you come in midway in January,” Trattou said. “It’s always going to be tough because no matter what you did in high school it’s not going to be the same intensity as it is here, between all the strength coaches and all the guys who have been here for a couple years.”
Florida compiled one of the best recruiting class of all time this past year, but with all that talent could come egos. Be warned, says Trattou, things won’t be easy for you guys. Not even the ones that Urban Meyer or any of his other coaches love so dearly.
Eleven of those highly-touted recruits are already on campus and are already having to go through the tough Gator workouts.
“Our (freshmen) are adjusting well and getting better,” Trattou said.
Things weren’t all about scary tales by Trattou during a nice Friday morning sit-down with he a couple of other players. Trattou does like what he sees out of UF’s top-rated defensive line class. He’ll get a chance to play with a few before he graduates and he’s ready to see them in action when they arrive.
“I’m really excited for them to get here and start working with us this summer,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of talented guys (coming in). The future looks good for the d-line at Florida.”
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I caught up with two highly-regarded Florida targets this week. It’s a relatively slow time of year, but evaluations of rising seniors are starting to take shape. Two guys Gator fans should know about are Miami Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Punta Gorda Charlotte running back Mike Bellamy.
Bridgewater — He said he’s got “a lot of interest” in the Gators. He’s very familiar with Florida’s program and he showed last summer at Friday Night Lights. He also impressed earlier this year in Miami for a 7-on-7 camp. The question is where will he play? He’s a great athlete and has interest in playing wide receiver, but could be a very talented dual-threat quarterback at the next level. He’s gonna have to gain some weight regardless of where he plays. He’s 6-foot-3, 170 pounds. That’s great height for either position, but he’s got to put on some pounds. I think Florida might be recruting him more as an athlete and would only consider him at quarterback if a couple of bigger QB prospects don’t work out. He could be a dangerous “Wildcat” guy. Georgia is a team Bridgewater has a lot of interest in as well.
Bellamy — From the start, it seemed that Bellamy was all but committed to Florida. His Facebook page was littered with pro-Gator stuff. He even declared himself as the next great Gator running back. But things seem to have changed a bit. It appears as though Florida’s depth chart is worrying Bellamy. UF’s backfield is already crowded with juniors Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, senior Emmanuel Moody and sophomore Mike Gillislee. True freshman Mack Brown will be on campus this fall. Bellamy would be stepping into another logjam situation as he would only be taking the place of Moody.
He wasn’t as upfront with me, but this is what Bellamy had to say about Florida to Rivals.com a few days ago: “I’m pretty much going to go where I can play and Florida is not the best place for that right now,” Bellamy said. “Too many people are trying to be Florida Gators. I’m not scared of competition because I know I can play and I have expectations to. I want to pretty much start and play early. That’s not possible there with Jeff, Chris Rainey and Mack Brown coming in with a couple other guys.”
This one isn’t over, in my opinion. Rainey could still consider jumping into the NFL Draft, so Bellamy might just need to wait it out. It is just February anyway.