Rod Crayton drove down to UF on Saturday for the second time this year.
The Dadeville, Ala., defensive tackle, who previously visited for Florida’s first Junior Day on Jan. 28, watched the Gators’ first practice in pads this spring.
“It was good,” said Crayton, who made the six-hour trip with two teammates and his coach, Matt Harris. “I really liked the things they did in practice.”
Crayton paid close attention to the drills of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive line coach Bryant Young.
“The things they do on the defensive line I really liked a lot. I think I can fit into it,” he said. “They do the same things that my coach taught me, so there’s a lot of similarities.”
He also spent time with his primary recruiter, tight ends coach Derek Lewis, and received a surprising welcome from UF coach Will Muschamp.
“(Muschamp) came up to me,” Crayton said, “and before I had my name tag on, he already knew who I was. We were on the practice field speaking and he told me to enjoy everything.”
The ESPNU 150 Watch List member has only been to Gainesville twice now, but he’s already sold on the city.
“I like everything around here,” he said. “It’s a good place, good school, good community and good people.”
Crayton was hoping to receive an offer from Florida during the visit, but he said the coaches still have concern about his height. The 285-pounder is currently listed at 6-foot-1 on ESPN and Scout, but he looks closer to 6-foot in person.
He plans on returning June 9 to participate in summer camp and show off his strength.
“I’m short,” Crayton said, “but my arm span is 6 foot, 7 inches. I did 450 pounds (on the bench press) three times the other day, and I’m actually doing 150 (pounds) in dumbbells, and that’s the highest one they make.”
He currently has 12 offers and LSU, Michigan, Mississippi State and Tennessee are his favorites.
The Gators are still in the picture, but they need to offer before making his leaderboard.
“I like Florida a lot,” he said, “but I wouldn’t put them in my top five right now because I don’t have an offer from them yet.”
Photo by Zach Abolverdi