Florida football: Super Bowl champion Darnell Stapleton hired as assistant O-line coach

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports

Former Super Bowl champion Darnell Stapleton has been hired as the assistant offensive line coach at Florida, first-year coach Billy Napier announced Friday. 

Stapleton served in the same role on Napier’s Louisiana staff this past season. He came over from Sam Houston State, where he was the offensive line coach and the run game coordinator for three years (2017-20). 

Stapleton was also the offensive line coach at Bucknell University (2014-17) and completed two years as a graduate assistant at Rutgers (2013-14), where he played from 2005-07. 

Stapleton was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2007-10 and played in 26 career games. He started 18 games on the offensive line during his time with the Steelers, including their Super Bowl XLIII win over the Cardinals. 

Stapleton is the first of two offensive line coaches that Napier plans to hire. 

"We'll have an offensive line coach and an assistant offensive line coach," Napier said in his introductory news conference last Sunday. "When you're coaching offensive line, you've got to coach five players. Nobody's got one coach coaching five DBs. I don't know why you wouldn't have two guys coaching the offensive line.

"I'll coach the quarterbacks with the help from an offensive analyst and call the plays. And we'll have the advantage of having two offensive line coaches."

Stapleton is the sixth staff hire Napier has announced, along with associate head coach/director of football strength and conditioning Mark Hocke, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Patrick Toney, cornerbacks coach and assistant head coach (defense) Corey Raymond, running backs coach/associate head coach (offense) Jabbar Juluke, and offensive analyst Ryan O’Hara, who will coach the quarterbacks with Napier.

Diabate in portal

Florida linebacker Mohamoud Diabate is entering his name into the NCAA transfer portal. Diabate joins wide receiver Jacob Copeland, offensive tackle Gerald Mincey and defensive linemen Khris Bogle, Lloyd Summerall and Dante Zanders in the transfer portal.

A junior in 2021, Diabate started 17 games over the last three seasons and led the team with 89 tackles this past regular season.

Carter opts out of bowl

Redshirt senior defensive end Zachary Carter has opted out of the Gasparilla Bowl, he announced on social media Friday.

Carter’s 8.0 sacks this season rank fifth in the SEC and tied-for-36nd in the nation. Carter set a career high with three sacks in Week 1, becoming the first Gator with three sacks in a single game since Jonathan Greenard (vs. FSU) and Mohamoud Diabate (vs. Vanderbilt) accomplished the feat in 2019.

Carter will now prepare for the Senior Bowl, a showcase for NFL coaches to scout top talent.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Darnell Stapleton has left the Ragin' Cajuns to assist at Florida.

Jamar Chaney reportedly returning to UF

Former Florida staffer Jamar Chaney is expected to return to the school as a member of Napier's staff, according to Matt Zenitz of On3

Zenitz reports that Chaney will be hired as a senior defensive analyst, the same role he served in the past two seasons at Mississippi State, his alma mater. 

Chaney spent the 2019 season at Florida as the assistant director of player personnel under former coach Dan Mullen, who coached him at MSU.

Prior to his stint with the Gators, Chaney was head coach of his alma mater, St. Lucie West Centennial High School, in Port St. Lucie.

Billy Napier set to host first official visitors 

UF will welcome a handful of official visitors to campus Friday for Napier's first recruiting weekend. 

The Gators are scheduled to host five-star safety Kamari Wilson (Bradenton, Fla.), four-star safety Devin Moore (Naples, Fla.), Georgia defensive tackle commit Shone Washington (New Orleans), Florida offensive tackle commit David Conner (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) and three-star offensive guard Christian Williams (Missouri City, Texas), who flipped his pledge from Louisiana to Florida on Friday. 

Napier and multiple staff members visited Wilson’s high school, IMG Academy, on Wednesday. Moore, who decommitted from Notre Dame on Nov. 30, received an in-home visit Tuesday from Toney and new UF staffer Ashour Peera, the former head coach at East Ridge High School in Clermont, Fla.

Peera also stopped by Conner's school on Wednesday. Washington, who committed to UGA on Nov. 29, conducted an in-home visit Thursday with Juluke.