Gatorade National Player of the Year John Brantley saw many of the names and photos of those Gators greats- Bell, Nattiel, Williams, and Brantley. This time the signal caller actually left the (Ocala) Trinity Catholic practice field and tripped for his official visit to the University of Florida campus.
The U.S. Army All-American who established a Trinity Catholic career passing record with 6,802 yards grew up with Orange and Blue blood coursing through his veins. He has taken the 37 mile trip to campus more times than he can count with his father, former Florida quarterback John Brantley III and uncle, former All-American linebacker Scot Brantley.
He spent his prep career under the direction of former All-SEC stars who starred for the Gators. Wide receivers coach Ricky Nattiel, offensive line coach David Williams, and a former SEC Freshman Player of the Year- Kerwin Bell- who directed the operation. This time the young Mr. Brantley had another quarterback show him the ropes.
“My host was Tim Tebow,” he said. “We really just hung out. We went out a little bit at night. Nothing crazy or anything, nothing crazy at all. We really just had a good time just hanging out. We’d go to the dorm rooms where everybody would be playing video games and hanging out. All the players hung out and just got to know each other.”
How did Tim Tebow, the consummate teammate and fellow quarterback talk shop?
“That’s what I love about Tim Tebow,” Brantley added. “When he talks to me, he talks about Coach (Dan) Mullen and how he’s going to make me into the best quarterback. I don’t feel any tension between us right now. I’ll go in there expecting to compete and just see how it goes over the summer and during two-a-days.”
“When me and coach (Kerwin) Bell went up there for my meeting before I made my de-commitment from Texas and went to Florida, they (the Florida coaches) really stressed the fact that they mold the offense around what the players do best,” he recalled. “That’s what you look for. You don’t want to go to an offense where you don’t feel comfortable and they won’t change things.”
Brantley was quick to give high praise to the Florida staff and players for their recruiting efforts. This was their time to shine before their biggest weekend before signing day 2007.
“It’s a great program and the best coaches,” Brantley stated. “They’re just so easy to get along with and get used to. Everything they talk about is not always recruiting. That’s what is really cool about them. It’s just so much fun to go up there and hang out with the coaches and players. Every player that I asked who hasn’t committed said that they had a great time here.”
“We had a lot of fun,” he continued. “I just felt like I belonged there. I felt so comfortable with the coaches and players. I hung out with James Wilson. He’s a great kid. I hung out a lot with him. Torrey Davis- we’re really cool. Me and Chris Rainey are pretty cool. Lorenzo Edwards. I was able to hang out with everybody who was out in San Antonio.”
He added that the other prized recruits were seemingly impressed with what the trip to Gainesville and the Florida campus.
“You can tell with the recruits who haven’t made up their mind that when they came into Florida- they loved it,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that they’re going to choose to go there, but I don’t think you can be disappointed if you visited Florida at all. The official visit was set up really nice. If you’re disappointed in what Florida does and how you look at that school- I just don’t know.”