ORLANDO — Just how much has the culture and perception of the Florida Gators football program changed in the 36 days since Dan Mullen took over as head coach?
Florida is in a good position to flip a four star linebacker from Alabama.
Quay Walker (6-4, 220 Cordele Georgia, Crisp County) has been committed to the Crimson Tide but recently said he is keeping an open mind through the process, mainly because of staff changes at Alabama and at Florida. Jeremy Pruitt was the coach that Walker was closest with on the staff and he’s at Tennessee now, along with former Florida defensive line coach Chris Rumph, who was heavily involved in Walker’s recruitment at Florida.
This recruiting cycle was the first to have an early signing period and Walker had Alabama, Georgia and other sending him paperwork in hopes that he would sign.
“They tried to send the papers to me but I didn’t do the NCAA Clearing house,” Walker told I didn’t do that so that didn’t work but I wasn’t going to sign (early) anyway.”
Walker plans to take all five of his official visits, with a trip to Gainesville scheduled for January 12, followed by Georgia (Jan. 19) and Auburn (Jan. 28). He’ll have one more week to take an official visit after that but hasn’t decided if he will use it to visit Tennessee or Alabama.
One factor playing into his wavering status as an Alabama commit is the depth that the Tide have at his outside linebacker position.
“Pretty much depth. The linebackers and everything,” Walker said when he was asked what could lead him away from Alabama and to another school. “I know Alabama has a lot of guys coming back. That’s going to play a big role.”
Walker maintained contact with Florida’s old coaching staff but he wasn’t a fan of the defensive scheme and because of that, really didn’t have serious interest in Florida. Mullen brought in Todd Grantham to run the defense and a switch from a 4-3 base to a 3-4 base has Walker seriously looking at the Gators.
“That’s going to play a big role,” he said of the switch in scheme. “I pretty much didn’t like Florida’s defense, the defense that they were already in. I didn’t like that so that’s why I wasn’t really considering Florida.”
Walker says he’s exchanged several texts with Grantham but the two haven’t really connected yet. Walker expects that to happen when he visits Florida and has the opportunity to sit down with the coach. The Gators have somebody in Walker’s ear though. Signee Trey Dean and Walker met at the rising seniors game in Georgia last year and have built a bond ever since.
On Friday Dean proudly told reporters that Walker would go to Florida, something Walker brushed off.
“That’s my brother. I love Trey but at the same time I have to do what’s best for me,” He said. “I ain’t gonna lie to y’all. I don’t know where I’m going yet.”
Walker referred to Florida as his “dream school” but will wait until National Signing Day (February 7) to make and announce his final decision.