Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy knows first hand the recruiting ability of Florida coach Mike White.
White worked as assistant coach at Ole Miss, his alma mater, under Kennedy from 2004-11. Kennedy said White has a knack for finding under-the-radar players.
“For us, we’ve got to be dogged in our pursuits,” Kennedy said. “We’re not gonna just walk in a room and everybody is going to want to sign a national letter for us.
“So we have to really work. And we have to find guys like Chris Warren, that no other major recruited him, or Stefan Moody, or Marshall Henderson, where some guys may say this flaw or that flaw, or may miss on, we’ve got to find them and develop them. And Mike was very good at that for us and very good at that at Louisiana Tech.”
Asked about his experiences recruiting at Louisiana Tech and Ole Miss, White said: “At places like that you need to learn to be as efficient as possible and where to not spin your wheels and where to invest most of your time. Or otherwise you may lose on plan B and plan C.”
At Florida, White has so far landed a pair of three-star recruits in his first 2016 recruiting class — guard Eric Hester and forward Dontay Bassett. Both go to the same high school (Oldsmar, Fla., Christian). Florida has been in on a few five-star recruits, including a recent visit from 6-10 center Udoka Azubuike (No. 22 ESPN Top 100, Jacksonville Potter Christian), who remains undecided.
“At Florida, I have found myself talking more about the history of Florida, and Billy Donovan’s era, and the facilities and the prestige of the academics itself,” White said. “It gives us something very strong to sell.”
But White admitted with today’s technology and interest in recruiting, it’s more challenging to find the right players.
“Social media has turned recruiting into a circus,” White said. “There’s absolutely no secrets anymore. I think we all love to recruit, I’m very anxious to be able to turn all of our focus to our team and be able to tip it up against Navy (Nov. 13) here pretty soon.”
Other tidbits from SEC media day:
— Perhaps White’s biggest recruit to date was convincing freshman guard KeVaughn Allen to honor his letter of intent last May. Arkansas coach Mike Anderson wouldn’t elaborate on how close Allen, a North Little, Ark., native, came to flipping to the Razorbacks. “KeVaughn is a good kid,” Anderson said. “I wish him well.” Asked about Allen as a player, Anderson said: “He’s been a part of a lot of winning programs and that’s a big carryover, when you’ve got a guy that’s used to winning, those guys are going to do what it takes to win.” Meanwhile, White remains bullish on the 6-foot-2 guard’s ability. Allen sat out the first week of practice with a concussion but has done a good job catching up, White said. “He’s improving defensively, he’s learning our system, like the rest of our team,” White said. “I expect him to have a really good career. He’s got a chance to make a big impact as a freshman.”
— Florida senior forward Alex Murphy said he has no regrets about transferring from Duke, which won its fifth national title under coach Mike Krzyzewski last April. “If anything I was happy for those guys,” Murphy said. “Especially (senior guard) Quinn (Cook). Me and Quinn came in together as freshmen a long time ago. I’m still very close to him, he’s one of my best friends. To see him on that stage, crying, I got pretty emotional. They had an amazing run.”