Florida football: Billy Napier poaches Georgia's top recruiting staffer
After stealing a five-star recruit from Georgia on Wednesday, new Florida coach Billy Napier poached UGA’s top recruiting staffer 24 hours later.
Katie Turner was announced Thursday as UF’s assistant athletic director of recruiting strategy, reuniting with Napier after working with him for three years at Louisiana and four years at Alabama.
Turner spent the past two seasons at Georgia, where she was director of recruiting operations and helped the Bulldogs secure the nation’s top-five and top-three recruiting classes for 2021 and 2022, respectively.
After the news broke on Twitter, Turner’s account was flooded with congratulatory messages from UGA recruits, players, parents and fellow staffers.
“You ARE the heart and soul of UGA recruiting, and one of the best humans I know,” wrote Mary Delp, the mother of Georgia tight end Oscar Delp. “You SPREAD love and joy to those around you. YOU are one of the reasons O is a DAWG.”
"She’s the consummate professional & an ambassador to a program," Jacksonville recruit Colin Hurley tweeted about Turner. "Warm, welcoming, smart & kind to recruits & families. Football savvy."
Prior to UGA, Turner served on Napier’s staff at Louisiana as the director of football on-campus recruiting from 2018-20. The Ragin' Cajuns garnered the No. 1 recruiting class in the Sun Belt Conference in 2019 and 2020.
Napier first crossed paths with Turner at Alabama, where they both worked from 2013-16. He was the Tide receivers coach, while she began her career as a recruiting assistant on Nick Saban’s staff.
After graduating from Alabama in 2016, Turner spent four years with the Buffalo Bills as a graduate assistant in the community relations department (2016-17) and business development department (2017-18).
Billy Napier’s staff taking shape
Turner is the 13th hire that has been announced by Florida or Napier this month. That includes his strength coach Mark Hocke, five assistant coaches and analysts Ryan O’Hara (quarterbacks) and Jamar Chaney (linebackers).
In addition to Turner and director of player personnel Jacob LaFrance, Napier has also hired Andrew Burkett as director of research and evaluation and personnel analysts Joe Hamilton (defense) and Nick McDonald (offense).
“There’s lots of ways to acquire players, and I think that each part of that personnel department is important,” Napier said Wednesday. “Nick and Joe will be assigned specific responsibilities on that side of the ball. They will evaluate all the players on the board, but they will be working with the offensive coaches and the defensive coaches. Jacob will oversee the entire operation with a focus on high school players. Andrew does research year-round on player production. He does research year-round on the evaluation process and has a lot to do with our internal systems and how we operate.
“Ryan and Jamar both have significant experience. I think the big thing here is we’re trying to create quality of life for the 10 assistant coaches, so there’s a certain pace to life where they can do a good job at home. … This game will chew you up and spit you out if you let it, and I think it’s important that we keep perspective here, and this infrastructure will allow us to do that. I think everybody has got to have the right amount of work to do but not too little and not too much, and that’s the big-picture goal.”
Here’s a list of Napier’s hires so far:
Mark Hocke — associate head coach, director of football strength and conditioning
Patrick Toney — co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach
Corey Raymond — cornerbacks coach, associate head coach (defense)
Darnell Stapleton — offensive line coach
Keary Colbert — wide receivers coach
Jabbar Juluke — running backs coach, associate head coach (offense)
Ryan O’Hara — offensive analyst, quarterbacks
Jamar Chaney — defensive analyst, linebackers
Katie Turner — assistant athletic director of recruiting strategy
Jacob LaFrance — director of player personnel, high school
Nick McDonald — personnel analyst, offense
Joe Hamilton — personnel analyst, defense
Andrew Burkett — director of research and evaluation
Who: Florida (6-6) vs. UCF (8-4)
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850