Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen and his staff have been recruiting the class of 2019 hard and this weekend, the Gators hosted one of the best players in the country on campus.
Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (6-5, 235, Thousand Oaks, CA. Oaks Christian) is considered to be the best player in the country and he liked what his visit to Gainesville.
“It was pretty good, it was fun,” Thibodeaux said of his visit to Florida. “I seen everything. The law school, all the facilities, the academic building. I got to see everything.”
Thibodeaux got the chance to watch the Gators go through two practices this weekend and he likes the energy.
“They were getting after it. I liked it,” he said of Florida’s practice. “It was high tempo and they were working.”
The defensive end paid close to attention to defensive line coach Sal Sunseri this weekend and he liked his coaching style.
“Oh yeah, he’s great,” Thibodeaux said of Sunseri’s coaching style. “He could definitely coach me. I love him. It was the NFL style. He don’t go for nothing. He makes everybody work hard no matter how good, no matter how bad.”
Sunseri and Thibodeaux spoke at length during the two day visit about where the Gators see him playing if he chooses Florida.
“That if I came I was gonna work. He’s gonna maximize my skill and make me be the best that I can be,” he said of Sunseri’s message to him. “He sees me as more of a buck, as they call it, which is more of a linebacker, but on the line of scrimmage.”
Mullen also impressed Thibodeaux during the visit by his personality and straight forward approach he takes with recruits.
“He’s a great dude. He’s one of the most honest coaches that I’ve met,” Thibodeaux said of Dan Mullen. “One of the best coaches I’ve ever met, actually, as a man. I respect him a lot. Just being able to talk to him and see what he was about. He’s a real respectable dude coming from Mississippi State.”
While a lot of coaches will try to sell their selves to players, Thibodeaux said Mullen sold the school not his coaching style.
“I mean, he really sold the school and not selling himself,” he said of Mullen’s message. “He talked about what they had to offer and the program he’s building instead of football.”
Thibodeaux admits that he has paid close attention to Mullen’s history and that’s something that has caught the defensive end’s attention.
“It does,” Thibodeaux said on if Mullen’s past history stood out to him. “Even at Mississippi State, him as a man, him as a coach, his program and the way he runs things.”
Over the last few years the Gators have struggled getting California prospects to Florida but Thibodeaux said the new coaching staff convinced him to visit.
“It was the new coaches,” he said on what made him decide to visit Florida. “I thought the defensive line coach just changed my mind from working with the Raiders. They’re gonna be on the rise. I feel like good things are happening at Florida.”
This likely will not be the last time that the Gators host Thibodeaux on a visit as the defensive end says he wants to return to Gainesville.
“Yeah, definitely. Definitely,” Thibodeaux on if he will return for a visit. “Not yet, as of now I don’t have a date, but it most likely will be for a game, I know I’m going to Oregon April 20th, and that’s all that is set for right now.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Sunseri really caught Thibodeaux’s attention during the visit and that’s what has the Gators in contention for the standout defensive lineman.