In the last six days, seven players have left the Florida football program; finally the Gators have finally gotten one to come in instead of go out. Former Virginia Tech kicker Brooks Abbott has decided to transfer to Florida after a year away from the game of football at Florida State College at Jacksonville.
He initially announced his decision via Twitter:
— Brooks Abbott (@b_abbott17) December 15, 2013
He then confirmed the news with Gator Country on Tuesday via phone interview.
“The first coach that I reached out to was coach [Jeff] Choate and we kinda just built a relationship,” Abbott said. “I came down for a game and just really fell in love with the place and decided to continue playing there because I felt like I had a good chance to play.”
He planned to get to UF in January, but per NCAA rules had to complete the spring semester at FSCJ once he started taking classes there in the fall. He will complete his Associate in Arts degree and will be on campus in Gainesville this June where he will be eligible to compete immediately. He plans to pursue a finance degree at UF
While Abbott is a preferred walk on, he has been told by coaches that if he can win the starting job, he will earn a scholarship. He’ll be up against incumbents Frankie Velez and Austin Hardin, who combined to go 10-20 on field goals in the 2013 season, and between the two of them, only hit one kick from greater than 40 yards –a 44-yarder by Velez.
Abbott played in seven games as a member of the Hokies in 2012, and was used 39 times as a kickoff specialist. He averaged 61.5 yards per kickoff and had nine touchbacks; he also made five tackles in coverage.
The move also brings Abbott closer to home. He’s from Jacksonville where he lettered four times at The Bolles School and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl after his high school career finished.
UPDATE (12/20): Florida announced that Choate has resigned and former New Mexico special teams/outside linebackers coach Coleman Hutzel has been hired to replace him. Although Abbott has a strong relationship with Choate, his choice to come to UF is still firm.
“No it doesn’t change my decision my heart is set on Florida, but I still need to talk to coach Hutzler to see what his plans are,” Abbott told Gator Country Friday.