Today is National Signing Day, though with the importance of Early Signing Day it was a quiet one for Florida Football. It still gave Billy Napier a chance to talk with reporters during an extended press conference this morning.
Among the topics Napier touched upon was the slow and steady approach the Gators have taken in the NIL space and why he believes Florida is in a great position moving forward.
Florida Football: Slow and steady wins the race. Sometimes.
Florida's NIL approach has been the topic of much discussion over the last month. The belief from a public perception standpoint is that the Gators are lagging behind other SEC rivals with their amount of cash on hand to help attract top talent to Gainesville.
During his press conference on Wednesday, the first question Napier was asked was whether or not Florida was in a position to compete with other schools when it came to NIL.
"It probably took us about 18 months to get a pulse on the landscape. More importantly, what is our approach relative to who we want to be and the caliber of players we need (in order) to compete? More importantly, who are the type of people that you want to attract to your program?"- Billy Napier
There is a hint of truth to what Napier is saying that you don't just want to get players to Gainesville where money is the sole motivator. But this also makes it sound like Florida was caught off guard with how swift NIL was going to take off, which is something that runs parallel to public perception.
But Napier seems to think that despite the fact the NIL market changes every cycle, Florida is in a great position moving forward.
When asked about how NIL and the transfer portal go hand and hand, Napier doesn't seem concerned about missing out on top prospects.
"We are able to recruit the elite player in the country that everybody wants. We are also able to Moneyball a little bit."- Billy Napier
The Gators did get Joey Slackman out of the portal, one of the more sought after players from this cycle. But depending on whether one wants to count Jameer Grimsley as a transfer portal grab after Alabama wouldn't release him from his LOI, no one else Florida grabbed out of the portal was ranked among the top 100 available players.
Whether or not he wants to admit it, Florida played more Moneyball than Monopoly this past transfer portal cycle.
And again, it is possible this approach can work. But as the Oakland A's found out every year they ran into the New York Yankees, Moneyball only takes you so far. Top tier talent eventually wins out.
You can see Napier's entire press conference down below.