Dan Mullen wraps up a whirlwind first recruiting class

It was a wild 72 days for Dan Mullen.

After being introduced as the head coach of the Florida Gators Mullen completely rebuilt a coaching staff, dealt with the fate of eight players that were previously suspended and hit the road recruiting.

Recruiting, by necessity, would take precedent.

“One of the toughest things within how the calendar works in college football, when you take over a new program, is I’ve spent more time away from Gainesville and with recruits than I have with our current players, and now I’m really excited to be back here,” Mullen said after announcing his first recruiting class. “We had mat drills this morning and had the opportunity to get around and really spend a lot more time with our current players on the roster and get to know them and push them and continue to develop them for the future.”

Mullen will now turn his attention to the players he has on campus but the past 70 plus days have been a whirlwind. Mullen has been all over the country trying to secure a class that will forever be his first at Florida. He cemented a top-15 class with 19 prospects. There were needs addressed. Mullen signed his quarterback in Emory Jones, who is already on campus. He added several athletes on both sides of the ball as well as four offensive linemen and was able to beat out Alabama for one of the best receivers in the state of Florida, Jacob Copeland.

Some will point out how Florida State and Miami finished ahead of Florida in the class rankings. Mullen knows this class can’t truly be graded for another two or three years.

“I have really high expectations for the program, and I know a lot of people do. Trust me, I’ll put my expectations up there against anybody and what they expect with this program,” he said.

Mullen has made that expectation clear.

“We want to build a program that’s going to compete for championships on a yearly basis,” he said. “And to do that, you need to do a great job recruiting. You’ve got to do a great job in every aspect of recruiting, whether it’s the evaluation or the recruiting, and then when they get on campus, the development of the players to put them in a position to be successful.”

The first chapter of Mullen’s tenure closed on Wednesday. Florida is still in contention for junior college defensive end Dorian Gerald (he will announce his commitment Friday) but the first class is largely done. The Gators have eight of their 19 signees on campus already. Those players will join the rest of the team for the second chapter of the Mullen era when spring practice begins.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC