Third time a charm for Joey Bosa?

Considered one of the top prospects in the state of Florida for the Class of 2013, and slotted as the No. 40 overall prospect in the country in the Gator Country Composite Rankings, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive lineman Joey Bosa has been a major target on the board for the UF coaching staff early on. This weekend, Bosa made yet another visit to Gainesville when he attended the Orange & Blue Debut in the Swamp on Saturday afternoon.

“It was fun. My third time up here – I was just up here a month ago, and met all the coaches – so it was good,” Bosa said of the trip. “It was good to see the young guys get out there and getting a chance to play.”

The message from the Florida coaches has remained pretty consistent throughout the process for Bosa.

“The same ol’ – how much they need me,” he said with a laugh.

There is plenty of competition for the 6-foot-5, 260-pound pass-rusher, with Alabama, Auburn and Florida State in the mix, among others. However, the Gators appear to be well-within the bounds of Bosa’s group of top schools at this point.

“They’re definitely up there still,” Bosa said of Florida. “I’m actually thinking, I’m starting to want to stay closer to home in Florida, the more and more I think about it. So they’re definitely up there.”

One assistant coach in particular appears to be a big factor as to why the Gators are strongly in the mix for the son of former Boston College and Miami Dolphins defensive lineman John Bosa.

“I talk to [Dan] Quinn a lot. He’s a great coordinator, I love him. I like the weight coach [Jeff Dillman]. I like Muschamp too – a defensive-minded coach.”

Even with Bosa’s sudden epiphany that he may want to stay a bit closer to home, he will make a trip next week to check in on some of the programs from the Midwest which are high on his list as well.

“[A] big, hectic five days,” he said. “On Monday I’m flying up to Illinois to see my grandparents and family. Straight from there, drive to Wisconsin to see them. Straight from there to Columbus to see Ohio State. Then on Saturday is the spring game of Michigan.”

Although the Gators have discussed the possibility with Bosa of playing the ‘Buck’ linebacker position in Gainesville, he ultimately sees himself in a different role down the line.

“I wouldn’t mind being a stand-up [player] at the end, but I really think I’m going to grow to get a lot bigger –around 290 [pounds] – and play with a hand down,” he said. “So I think I’ll be more of an end type player.”

In seven regular-season games for Aquinas last fall, Bosa recorded 30 tackles (13 for loss), 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble as the Raiders completed the season with a record of 10-3 and advanced to the Regional Final round of the FHSAA Class 7A state playoffs.