Suwanee, Ga., Peachtree Ridge running back DiAndre Atwater was almost giddy when he arrived in Gainesville.
A Florida fan since the Rex Grossman and Jabar Gaffney days, Atwater felt like a child taking his first trip to Disney World when he walked inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
“It was amazing,” the son of former NFL defensive back Steve Atwater said of his Junior Day visit. “The campus, coaches and environment were really impressive.”
DiAndre Atwater got to spend a lot of time seeing the ins and outs of Florida’s program. He met with each of the coaches and academic advisers. He took a campus tour and had meetings with position coaches before checking out Florida’s locker room and weight room. Saturday night he checked out the Florida-Tennessee basketball game.
Florida’s coaching change hasn’t deterred Atwater. In fact, it’s actually enhanced his feelings toward the Gators because they will be breaking away from the spread offense.
“I like how they’re switching to a pro-style offense because that’s what we run at Peachtree Ridge,” he said. “I’m used to playing out of the I-formation.”
Besides his early Florida fanhood, Atwater also has a more personal connection to Florida. While his father was a member of the New York Jets in 1999, new Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis held the same position with the Jets.
This wasn’t DiAndre’s first run-in with Florida’s football tradition. He got a chance to meet Gaffney’s father at the East-West Shrine Game a couple of weeks ago. Besides talking about Gaffney’s college and pro career, the two talked football — specifically Gator football.
Traveling with his parents and getting a real feel for being on campus cemented the Gators as his leader.
Though Atwater doesn’t have any current offers, he’s pleased to see that he’s getting interest from schools. Florida is the only school that is in regular contact with him, he said, but he’s also interested in visiting UCLA, South Carolina and Louisville.
Atwater said he’s been communicating with running backs coach Brian White and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson the most, and both seem interested in seeing him in action. While visiting with Muschamp, Atwater was told someone from Florida would see him in the spring and he’d like him to return to camp over the summer.
“All I’m trying to do right now is work hard and get offers,” he said.
“I gotta be patient. They’ll come eventually.”