You may have read the headline “Billy Napier is having guys commit that want to be Gators” and thought to yourself “What kind of clickbait garbage is this? Of course guys committing to Florida want to be Gators.”
Well yes, but actually no.
Florida found itself more often than before as one of the hats on the table of top recruits, but weren’t getting its hat chosen.
Recruit after recruit would talk about how they really loved the relationship Napier had formed with them, but if we read between the lines those recruits went elsewhere because they were offered more NIL money than what Florida offered.
Now that Florida is on roll with recruiting, it’s clear Napier is signing guys that are coming to Gainesville for reasons beyond Florida being the highest bidder.
Napier and his recruiting process
We’ve also talked before about Napier’s overall recruiting process. In short, Napier believes in building a relationship with everyone and treat them as humans and not just paid mercenaries.
To quote Napier from SEC Media Day:
”Better humans make better football players”
With this process Florida has missed out on some big name recruits.
Florida seemed to be in the driver’s seat for Jaden Rashada until they weren’t and he went to Miami.
Malik Bryant tweeted out the clip of Napier saying “Scared money don’t make money,” then also went to Miami.
With more NIL money it’s possible Florida lands those guys.
But look at who Florida is getting to commit and the passion they have for being a Gator.
Marcus Stokes flipped from Penn State to Florida and has turned into one of Napier’s main recruiters.
The same can be said for Treyaun Webb and his recruiting efforts.
Andy Jean was so excited to announce his commitment that he moved it up while still in Gainesville for Florida’s BBQ.
Mo Money, Mo Problems
Don’t get it twisted.
If Rashada, Bryant, or anyone else that didn’t choose Florida did so because of money, I can’t blame them.
Some of the money being rumored is more than you or I will see in our lifetime.
It’s not my place to tell a 17-year old to turn down money so that I can be entertained for 12 Saturdays a year.
Speaking strictly as a fan though, I’m glad Napier is putting together a top 10 recruiting class with guys who are in Gainesville for reasons beyond money.
When adversity inevitably hits, Napier is building a group that is willing to fight through the adversity and not get complacent after looking at their bank account.
I’m curious to see what will happen in places like Alabama and Georgia, where part of the carrot Nick Saban and Kirby Smart have used to keep players going is the prospect of NFL money down the road.
Now with NIL money, those players are already starting with the carrot.
Florida probably won’t wind up with a top five class because it isn’t willing to dish out the NIL money for it.
But even under Mullen Florida had top 10 classes and were a thrown shoe and a defensive coordinator who knew a play call besides blitz eight away from a national title in 2020.
If Napier keeps building what he appears to be building, he 100% can win a national title down the road.
Because to quote five-star QB prospect DJ Lagway: