Desir-Jones honored to be a Gator

Maybe no one had a smile on their face as big as Richerd Desir-Jones did on National Signing Day last week. The St. Thomas Aquinas star two-way lineman was officially a Florida Gator, something he thought just weeks earlier wasn’t going to be possible.

On Sunday, Richerd Desir-Jones thought deeply about what it meant to sign that letter of intent to Florida. He is thankful of the chance he has and expects to do something with it.

“To be a Gator is a great feeling and a great opportunity,” the young man said by phone Sunday. “I am very honored and very humbled. I thank God, my parents, my coaching staff, and my teammates. I thank the coaching staff at Florida for giving me the opportunity to come up there and prove myself.”

The weekend before Desir-Jones found himself on the Florida campus without an offer, but for an official visit. He knew all too well the need for offensive linemen at Florida and figured there was a great shot at that offer, but when it came the joy he felt was more than he could stand.

“It was probably one of the best feelings I ever had,” the 6-foot-3, 295 pound mauling guard said. “I was happy and relieved. I knew where I wanted to go. I loved the coaching staff and the atmosphere. I really loved Gainesville, being around the coaches, getting to know them, and getting to know what the program was all about.”

Desir-Jones said it was an easy decision, especially since he knew his teammate and four-star running back Jordan Scarlett was going to be on board as well.

“Florida has always had a rich history of winning,” he said. “Having Coach Mac come in and coming from his background it is a winning background. Jordan Scarlett and I both come from a winning background and I just think we will gel together. Our ultimate goal is a national championship because Coach Mac is a fired up coach and he knows what he wants to do and Jordan and I know what we want to do.

“It was just a great opportunity and a great blessing to be able to not only go up there, but with a peer in my running back and me as an offensive lineman. With both of us it is a huge blessing.”

The staff told him they like him at guard or center. The state champion wrestler keeps his weight down for the grappling, but easily gets to 295 during football season. Florida offensive line coach Mike Summers loves the intensity the young man brings to the table.

“I wrestle and play defensive line, so I have aggression,” Desir-Jones said. “Coach Summers just says he likes that about me.”

Most of his goals are not personal ones really, well outside of getting that great education that Florida offers.

“I want to go up there and get a degree because my parents always told me education comes first,” he said. “I want to be able to compete, but also play for a national championship and the accolades that come from that are important. I really want to be a great leader.”

As for what Gator fans can expect from the giant bear of a lineman… “Intensity and work ethic, that is all I have ever been taught,” he said.

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