National Signing Day brought mixed reactions for Florida football fans. Some of that could be attributed to one signee the Gators didn’t get.
As we all reflect back on National Signing Day and what it means for Florida football in the future, it can be easy to lose sight of other things.
When you watch 5-star athletes decide their collegiate futures on national television, you see parents get more excited than the student-athlete.
Then there are some instances when parents get downright upset at their child for the decision they make.
We Florida football fans know all too well what that looks like:
I love Jacob Copeland, but I will never forget the situation her tirade put her young son in. And, Copeland did a good job explaining joining Florida football was in his heart and was not an easy decision to make.
After all, the fact that Copeland is getting a top-notch college education — for free mind you — should make any parent proud, no matter where it is.
But that wasn’t the case Wednesday when Florida football legendary running back Emmitt Smith heard his son E.J. decide to play for Stanford over the Gators and Georgia.
We saw the complete opposite of what a parent should do.
It would have been easy for Emmitt Smith to claim disappointment that his son E.J. spurn the overtures of Dan Mullen and staff to go to California to play football. But that didn’t happen.
“At the end of the day, my son has his own journey. And it is his journey, not my journey,” the elder Smith said of his son’s decision.
Emmitt Smith showed us exactly what this day is all about — the student-athlete and the grown-up decision they make.
It’s not about legacy, or even about Florida football. It was about watching a young man make what is likely the first real adult decision he’s ever had to make and his father brim with pride over it.
E.J. signed to play at Stanford and that’s okay. We wish him the best of luck and know that his father was a Gator, thus he will always be a Gator.
Unless Stanford and Florida football play each other — then all bets may be off.
No. 6 Florida football will take on No. 24 Virginia Dec. 30 in the Capital One Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Florida.