Recruiting weekend and Chris Johnson too


Don’t count on Chris Johnson to be a major cheerleader for Florida as the Gators try to assemble their 2011 recruiting class.

It’s not that he’s upset or anything. In fact, he’s one of the biggest Gators-fans-turned-commit I’ve ever covered. This kid absolutely loves Florida and loves the fact that he’ll put on a Gators uniform next year.

However, he’s not in the business of swaying committed guys who might be wavering.

“If you back out of a once-in-a-lifetime deal like that and you change your mind, that’s on you,” Johnson said. “I can’t force you to go anywhere. It has to be in your heart. I can’t tell anybody to go to a school if they don’t really want to be there. It’s not for me to say or your parents to say. If you don’t want to go there, then don’t go there. I’m happy with where I’m at.”

Talk about maturity.

And Johnson is very happy with his choice, even though Urban Meyer will resign following Florida’s game against Penn State in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1. Johnson said he was caught off guard by Meyer’s decision, but during his recruitment he thought there was a real chance that Meyer might step down because of his health.

Because of that, Johnson said he envisioned playing for Florida without Meyer and what other factors that would bring if he chose Florida.

“I thought about all the negatives before I thought about the positives,” he said.

When Johnson realized he was more concerned about playing at Florida than for a specific coach, Johnson became at peace with picking the Gators.

Now, Johnson must get used to a new coach in Will Muschamp. So far, Johnson, who barely knew of the guy the day he was hired, is satisfied with Florida’s hire. After a lengthy conversation with Muschamp that dealt with both his football land personal life, Johnson is excited about his future.

“He sounds like a really good guy and, obviously, he’s a defensive coach and he says he works with the DBs a lot,” Johnson said. “He wants to be not just a head coach but an actual players’ coach and that felt good to hear.”

Johnson said he and Muschamp didn’t talk about assistant coaches, but he wouldn’t be surprised — or mind — if Muschamp was his own defensive coordinator.

The interesting thing with Johnson is that he was still feeling the high of winning the state title after Trinity Catholic beat Davie University School 56-55 in triple overtime when he heard of Muschamp’s hire. He didn’t expect a hire that night and said he didn’t even think about Florida’s coaching situation that day as he concentrated on his final high school game.

But when he was done earning his ring and found out about the Gators’ hire, Johnson said his day got even better. To Johnson, Muschamp is the perfect guy to come in and pick up where Meyer left off.

“That’s hard on anyone, but I really believe he can do it,” he said.

“I think he’s going to accomplish great things here.”

Florida’s official visitors
Florida will host six official visitors this weekend. All are committed to Florida and all are expected to be early enrollees for the Gators.

OL Trip Thurman
OL Chase Hounshell
OL Tommy Jordan
CB Nick Waisome
CB De’Ante “Pop” Saunders
K Kyle Christy

Leonard makes it official
Not that he really needed to, but tight end commitment A.C. Leonard made his commitment to Florida official Friday, when he made an “announcement” at Jacksonville University Christian with his family.

Leonard is expected to enroll at Florida in January.


  1. Now this kid conducts himself like a young man should. I’ve said it before, i don’t like when these guys commit to a school, ex: pagan & now shazier and as soon as adversity strikes they just run the other way. P.S. I’m saying this about any commit at any school, if you commit then be there, all this switching up is not cool, just make up your damn mind and stick with your commitment. I’m just saying….

  2. “The guy who would have been my position coach already left and went to Texas, they don’t have a defensive coordinator yet, and two months is not a lot of time to try to build a relationship with someone who just got in. There is still a lot of uncertainty about who all is going to be there. It’s just too late in the process.”

    Drew’s comments..and Shazier de-commits.

  3. As impressive as this kid sounds its still hard for me to condem Shazier and Pagan. Its the biggest decision these kids have made in their lives up to this point – You develop a relationship with adults who you are trusting to take care of you and lead you down the right path – then the head coach leaves and the whole staff gets blown up behind him. Its alot easier too pass judgement on a 17 year old who is faced with these kind of choices when its not you thats making them……… Good to have you aboard Chris. Wish you well Jeffrey and Ryan.

  4. Just because they de-commit doesn’t always mean they’re going to go elsewhere. Let them go test the water. Then if they stay, they’ll be seriously invested. If they go, they were never Gators and good luck to ’em; they’re going to lesser school, in likely, a lesser conference.