We are now in full football off-season – nothing but recruiting going on. But that doesn’t mean Gator Nation is sleeping. The Gators lacrosse team beat Michigan 21-0, the Gators softball team is 11-0, the baseball team beat Rhode Island cumulatively 37-5, and the Gators gymnastics team just scored the highest score in the country on Friday. It truly is great to be a Florida Gator.
Kerry Dixon Opinion
The Florida Gators hired their wide receiver coach (finally) and, of course, because he was unknown there were a lot of hot takes about not only his ability as a coach, but folks also questioned Jim McElwain’s ability to pull in a wide receiver coach.
So let’s clear a few things up.
Primarily, just because Kerry Dixon is young and the previous pinnacle of his coaching career was at FAU and FIU, does not mean anything. Kerry Dixon is 32, I believe, years old and has eight years of college football experience, including three at the FBS level. Let’s compare that to a few other coaches: Urban Meyer was coaching wide receivers at Colorado State, Chris Petersen was coaching quarterbacks at Portland State, Chip Kelly as the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire, and Art Briles was the head coach at Stephenville High School. Let’s give the guy a shot before we immediately assume he was a “reach”.
Secondly, and obviously, Kerry Dixon looks to be a great recruiter. Dixon was responsible for helping to lock down south Florida for FIU and ended up recruiting four great gems of the FIU class, including the starting quarterback at Booker T. Washington – 2014 state champions. Dixon is young, energetic, and has spent three years in their backyard. As Florida looks to grow their south Florida footprint, Dixon’s relationships, coupled with Randy Shannon’s connections, could create a huge opportunity for the Gators in an area that they struggled to recruit during Will Muschamp’s time at Florida.
Finally, just a small note, Alabama wide receiver coach Billy Napier, who many Gator fans pleaded for, had exactly zero years of experience coaching wide receivers as a position coach before taking over the position in 2013 for Alabama. A good offensive coach can move around and coach multiple positions. Oh and by the way, it is not all that uncommon – Georgia moved their running back coach to the wide receiver coach role on Monday.
Continuing to Grow Staff
We talked about how Jim McElwain was building his staff last week and, again, we see it again with the addition of Marquel Blackwell as a quality control coach, the Gators add not only the former Director of Play Development from USF, a former High School coach in Tampa, but also, was the coach of the Team Tampa 7-on-7 football team – one of the top 7-on-7 teams in the country.
Since Jim McElwain has taken over, he has added a seven new people to the football support staff and I see him adding at least a few more names before the end of the semester.
New Football Enrollment Option?
Joc Bruce, a running back, will “blue shirt” at the University of Tennessee next season. Now, I have heard of a “grey shirt” and a “red shirt”, but not a “blue shirt”. Apparently, a “blue shirt” means a player must go to the University as a technical walk-on, could not have taken an official visit to the university, not received an in-home visit, and has not signed a letter of intent or academic aid paperwork. That player can then receive a scholarship once preseason practice began and not count against scholarship limits for the SEC 25-man class rule.
To me it seems like it is a bastardization of a rule that is supposed to reward actual walk-on players, instead of potential scholarship players that is willing to wait a few months to get a scholarship. There is nothing illegal about it, so good for Butch Jones for finding someone to do it, but I see this growing rapidly, and the idea of actual walk-ons will slowly diminish.
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Song of the Week
Kip Moore, one of my favorite country music singers right now, had a new song come out over the last few weeks. Check it out!