Every player that is offered a scholarship at the University of Florida has one goal in mind — playing football at the next level. Dan Mullen’s first coaching staff has just over 20 years of experience coaching at the next level, something both Todd Grantham and Sal Sunseri made sure to mention during their first meeting with media.
Sunseri mentioned the words “National Football League” or “NFL” 13 times in a 12-minute interview. Sunseri coached for the Carolina Panthers from 2002-2008 and then for three seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
“Being in that environment, taking men and understanding that it’s not just about the money you’re making, it’s about the performance that you’re putting out there on the field,” Sunseri said of coaching at the NFL level. “I think that’s where I can relate to these kids and understand I’ve been where you want to get to, and I want to tell you the secret to it is really simple.”
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham spent 11 years coaching in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys. Grantham uses the time he spent at those different spots not only in recruiting but as well as a coach on the field.
“I’ve gotten to coach a lot of really good players,” Grantham said of his time in the NFL. “So I’m going to coach our players the same way I would coach guys in the National Football League. That experience or that coaching I think will allow them, three to four years from now when they go to the league, they’re going to pretty much understand the NFL system.”
At the end of the day that’s what every big Division I recruit wants. They want to be coached hard by someone that can help them get to the next level. A young player will listen to a coach if he believes that coach can help them. What better way to earn that trust than to be able to tout the experience of coaching for a decade in the NFL? Who better to tell a player the steps necessary to get to the NFL than a coach who watched elite players make careers in the league?
“I’ve coached Julius Peppers, Mike Rucker, Chris Jenkins, I can hit you with a bunch of names,” Sunseri said. “I learn from them, because we’ll be out there playing a game and they would say, hey coach, I think we need to do this, well okay, let’s try it. Boom, there goes a sack. So, having these guys see it and having them study it, it’s amazing.”
“my experience in the NFL coming back here to college I think is great because I know where these kids wanna go, and I know I can get you there.”