“The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Another member of Florida football just announced they are transferring! Billy Napier has a toxic culture!”
Slow down just a bit Chicken Little. Yes, the Florida Gators have had several members of the team this week declare that they will be transferring out of Gainesville. No, this isn’t a reason for concern. If anything, it’s a sign that Billy Napier is making progress in building his culture.
Florida Football: Transfer portal carousel
Fast forward to this week and his brother Trent made the fancy Twitter/Instagram post announcing he would in fact be leaving Gainesville. Trent Whittemore’s announcement has been followed by a conga line of guys saying they too would be leaving the program, including LB Diwun Black.
Given the number of guys all of a sudden leaving Gainesville, one could say that Napier has a program of unrest behind the scenes. The reality is that when a new coach comes into any program and is handed players he didn’t personally recruit, there are going to be differences in opinions about how good that player is.
Everyone who announced they were leaving the program, including Whittemore and Black, and guys that were seeing very little of the field. And while it may be frustrating for those guys considering the high hopes, they had for playing time coming into the season, there is a very finite amount of time to go around.
Beyond the debate of Trey Dean vs Kamari Wilson, there have been very few complaints from us in regard to who is getting the bulk of the playing time. Napier seems to be playing the guys that have earned their spots.
We see this with the emergence of Trevor Etienne, beating out incumbent Nay’Quan Wright, and with Ricky Pearsall being brought in to essentially take Whittemore’s spot. Napier is building a culture where the best man is going to play. If you are not the best man there are no hard feelings, but it means you weren’t good enough to take the field.
Napier kicked Brenton Cox off the team, and it has already paid dividends. And with a top-10 recruiting class coming in next year, Napier is making sure it is known amongst the entire Florida football program that nobody is owed anything.