Ionata calls his Florida Gators’ offer a “huge honor”

The month of January is a key month for the Florida Gators coaching staff as they turn their attention to the 2024 class including hosting prospects on campus for junior days.

2024 offensive lineman Joseph Ionata (6-4, 280, Clearwater, FL. Calvary Christian) was on campus last weekend and was able to see everything Florida has to offer for the first time.

“It was special, it’s such a cool environment,” Ionata said of his visit to Florida on Saturday. “This was the first time that I’ve taken a tour of the facilities, I’ve been up there a couple of times for games and stuff but that was my first time getting to actually take it all in.”

Ionata was a big priority for Billy Napier and the Gators’ headman brought the lineman and his family into a meeting with him shortly after he arrived on campus.

“When we got there, we ate breakfast and then I got called into Coach Napier’s office,” he said. “He sat down with me and my family for about 30 minutes and learned more about us and then he eventually offered me during that conversation. We ate lunch with Coach [Rob] Sale and Coach [Darnell] Stapleton.”

The Gators were the first SEC offer for Ionata and it’s one that sticks out in the mind of the lineman because of Napier.

“It’s a huge honor, I’m super grateful for the opportunity,” Ionata said on what the Florida offer means to him. “They had a really good recruiting class; their program is going up from here and it’s awesome to have the opportunity from a program on the up under Coach Napier and his staff.”

While meeting with Napier, Ionata and his family learned just what the Gators like about his game and why they think he’s a good fit for Florida.

“It was a super awesome conversation with him,” Ionata said on getting the offer from Napier. “It was funny because I didn’t hear him say he was offering me, but I found out later in the day that he did offer me during that conversation. During the conversation, he was just talking about how he loved my film so much, how I block and finish people. He likes how I stay patient in pass protection, and he thinks I would be a great fit for them because of my versatility.”

Offensive line coaches Rob Sale and Darnell Stapleton have been high on Ionata for a while now and have explained just where he could play at on the line.

“They mentioned I could if I grow a little bit play tackle in college,” he said on where Florida wants him. “They said I could easily play all five positions in college because of my versatility. They like my length; I measured in with an 80.5-inch wingspan. Coach Sale especially, he thinks I would be a terrific center, he thinks I would be a great SEC center because I’m long.”

Ionata is still in the process of taking visits and gaining offers but he knows Florida is a school that will be in the mix for him.

“I can’t really rank my offers, but Florida is definitely in that elite category with schools,” Ionata said on where Florida stands for him now. “I’m 100 percent considering them. Nebraska, Florida State, UCF, Auburn, South Carolina, Mississippi State and a couple of others are recruiting me hard, but my options are open.”

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.