This weekend the Florida Gators hosted one official visitor on campus for the Idaho game and it was big one for the 2019 class.
Mississippi State defensive end Nathan Pickering (6-4, 286, Seminary, MS. High) was on campus and got to spend a lot of time with the coaching staff since he stayed until Monday.
“It was amazing, since it was an official, I really got to spend time with the coaching staff and talk to them,” Pickering said of his official visit to Florida. “I went out with the players, toured the academics building, I got to see Gator Vision, I went out with the players and just had a great time. Umstead Sanders was my host.”
Pickering has known Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen for years now and he says this weekend was nice to catch up with the Gators head man.
“I’m very close with Coach Mullen and to me he has been one of my favorite coaches for the longest,” he said on seeing Dan Mullen again. “To have that time to spend with him was amazing. He knows what he’s talking about and it was a great impression. He’s a great coach.”
Defensive line coach Sal Sunseri has been the main recruiter for Pickering so far and he had a message for the defensive end this weekend.
“His general message was that they are losing a lot of linemen and they need me,” Pickering said of Sunseri’s message to him. “He said that honestly that I have better athleticism then some of the younger guys on the team. They need me to come in and play early.”
Sunseri also broke down and showed Pickering just how he would be used in Florida’s defense.
“He said that I would kind of play both defensive tackle and end,” he said on where Sunseri sees him playing. “He said that it will depend on the down and distance.”
Mullen also talked with Pickering and had a simple request for the Mississippi State commit this weekend.
“Basically was saying that he really wants me to come there but if I don’t want to come then for me to just tell him,” Pickering said of Mullen’s message to him. “He said that way he doesn’t waste anyone’s time on home visits if I’m not coming. He asked me if distance was a problem and I told him no.”
After this weekend, Pickering says he and his parents walked away impressed by the Gators program.
“It’s pretty high especially after this weekend,” he said of his interest in Florida. “My mom and dad really loved it and I really loved it. I’ve always been considering Florida but after this visit and from the things that I’ve heard from the coaches and even people around them. It really boosted them way up.”
When Pickering committed to Mississippi State over the summer, many thought Florida was right there for him but he says one thing pointed him to Starksville.
“It was just the feeling was different,” Pickering said on why Mississippi State was his choice over Florida. “I felt more like family at State than I did at Florida.”
The Gators were able to show Pickering the family atmosphere and environment that he hadn’t seen in Gainesville before.
“Yeah they really did even the players did,” he said on if Florida made him feel that way this weekend. “The players were hitting me up and talking to me during pregame. I felt like I belonged there.”
Florida and Dan Mullen will have to wait awhile to know Pickering’s final decision as the defensive end isn’t enrolling early.
“I’m signing during the regular signing period,” Pickering said on what’s next for him. “I have an official to Alabama in December.”