Dan Mullen and his coaching staff has been very aggressive with recruiting prospects of the state of Mississippi since they arrived in Gainesville because of the relationship they’ve built from their time in Starkville.
Those relationships paid off on Friday when the Gators hosted defensive end Nathan Pickering (6-5, 270, Seminary, MS. High) on campus for the first time.
“It was amazing, that’s all I can say about it,” Pickering said of his visit to Florida. “It was by far the best trip that I’ve been on, it was the best trip that I’ve ever been on honestly. They fulfilled my expectations, everything that I was looking forward they fulfilled.”
Pickering was on campus for two days and while on campus he got to see several different things the Gators offer on campus.
“We got to watch practice on Friday, try on the uniforms and takes pictures,” he said on what all he got to do on the visit. “We got the chance to watch the scrimmage on Saturday and go out to eat. We got to see how they do stuff.”
This weekend was also a chance for Pickering to meet the coaches that he hadn’t met before.
“I got to talk to just about all of them,” Pickering said on the coaches he got to talk to. “I talked to Coach Sal [Sunseri], Coach O [Otis Yelverton], Coach Dan [Mullen], I spoke to all of them a little bit.”
Defensive line coach Sal Sunseri was one of those coaches that he met for the first time this weekend and the assistant explained why the Gators want Pickering so bad.
“He told me what any other defensive line coach would tell you,” he said on the message from Sunseri. “He said that he really wants me and likes film and that he thought I would great addition to the defense he’s trying to run. He likes the way I play at defensive end and that he wants me there.”
This weekend was also a chance for Mullen and Pickering to reconnect and the defensive end says the relationship didn’t miss a beat.
“It was great, we kind of picked up where we left off at Mississippi State,” Pickering said on his talk with Mullen. “I feel like he knows what he’s doing and what he’s talking about. What he’s trying to do is build a team that can win a national championship and I believe he can do that.”
While on campus, Pickering watched the Gators go through scrimmage and he focused on Sunseri’s coaching style.
“It’s amazing, it’s great, when you mess he lets you know that you messed up,” he said on watching Sunseri during the scrimmage. “When you do something good, he let you know. That’s the kind of coach that I like and he has the NFL experience and that’s just facts. That lets you know that he knows what he’s talking about.”
After the visit, Pickering explained that the Gators met his expectations for the visit but he isn’t ready to name a leader in recruitment.
“It’s a lot so far but I don’t want to release that but it’s coming soon,” Pickering said of teams standing out. “Florida helped things out a lot.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Pickering said that he plans to make a decision next year and that he wants to return to Gainesville for another visit. Pickering and Mullen have a solid relationship that should keep the Gators in the mix.