Riles More Confident After Official Visit

There is little denying the need for defensive linemen in the 2013 recruiting class for Florida. The Gators lose four this year that will test the NFL waters and more to come next year. The Gators love to rotate depth in the trenches and keep guys fresh, and adding linemen and keeping the one's they have committed is important. This past weekend went a long way in easing the mind of Antonio Riles.

Antonio Riles (6-4, 265) took his long awaited official visit to Florida this past weekend and was impressed with just how close-knit and tight everyone was. The Lawrenceville, Georgia defensive lineman has made some lifelong friends with some of the recruits, players, and coaches that were on hand.

"The best part was just hanging out with the commits and the players and getting a better feel of the coaches down there," Riles said about the weekend. "I had a great time.

"Alex McCalister was my host but I hung out with him and Michael Taylor. Alex is hilarious and Michael Taylor is cool as well. We were shooting (some hoops) at Coach Muschamp's place and were balling together.

"We went to the basketball game. They were spanking them so we had a good time."

Riles came into the weekend a little hesitant about his commitment after other schools have been on him hard and after the Gators lost their defensive coordinator and defensive end coach in Dan Quinn who took on a multi-million dollar contract with the NFL Seattle Seahawks.

"I just got an even better feel for all the coaches there and the overall family bond," he said. "I feel just a lot more confident about it."

He was able to talk to Quinn while on the visit in Gainesville and also got down to the nitty-gritty with new defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and defensive line coach Bryant Young.

"Coach Quinn was there and I talked to him a little bit," he said. "We were all skeptical about it at first. I was talking to some of the players about it and everyone is pretty confident because Coach Durkin, Young, and T-Rob will keep the same defense as last year. I just hope the best for Coach Quinn."

In the Gators favor is the familiarity with the new defensive line hire in Brad Lawing who came over from South Carolina. He also is familiar with the other new assistant on the staff.

"I actually haven't talked to him just yet, but I am pretty excited about that," Riles said. "He was recruiting me at South Carolina before I committed to Florida. He's a pretty cool guy. When I used to talk to him he was great and his resume is pretty good. When I was being recruited by Kentucky, Joker Phillips was recruiting me hard there as well."

Lawing will certainly be on Riles soon, he will want to further ease his mind and will already know what the staff thinks of Riles. Strength coach Jeff Dillman has been in Riles' ear a lot.

"They like my upside," he said when asked what it is that Florida finds attractive in his playing style. "I have some athleticism and more room to grow. As a player I could play both inside and outside. They just feel like I need to be coached up more. With Coach Dillman's help in the weight room I can be that much better.

"I have been talking to Coach Dillman for a while now. He is crazy and a freak in the weight room. He's a pretty energetic guy. He was so big helping them out in the fourth quarter of games."

The staff told Riles he is looking more like an end than a tackle right now and that is where they believe he will start out.

"That was the thing," he said. "I was actually watching film with Coach Young and Muschamp and while watching me Coach Young was saying he liked me at strong side defensive end. I actually thought I was slotted inside, but they wanted me outside."

As mentioned, other teams have been on Riles hard and none more so than the home team Georgia Bulldogs. Riles says this Gator weekend visit really made it hard to think about anyone else, but he will listen one more time to the Dawgs.

"Right now I am pretty blurry about taking any more official visits," he said. "Georgia is going to come and talk to me this week and I will hear what they have to say.

"I just feel like everything falls into favor with me at Florida right now."

He elaborated on that last statement.

"Everyone wants to play their first year I plan to grow and learn the schemes the first year," he said. "I have to figure out if I am inside or outside, but I would have an opportunity to play. The coaches are great guys. Joker Phillips is there, Coach Lawing is there now. Coach Muschamp and Young and Durkin are there, I like all those guys. I am around a great group of guys, the recruits and the players, so that is very important for me."

Fightin Gators Top Stories