Sneed favors Rutgers, impressed with Gators

Versatility is a huge thing for Orange Park Fleming Island running back Trey Sneed. Watching the young man on the football field can keep your mind busy with all of the different things he can do. As he approaches his senior year at Fleming Island, he will be doing those things with a little more size to him and with his current workouts college scouts are starting to notice him more and more.

Approaching the 20 scholarship offer mark for Trey Sneed, he is starting to open himself to a whole new world in terms of recruiting. Less than a year ago, Sneed was 5-foot-9.5 and about 180 pounds. He looked great, but on the smaller side for what coaches were looking for as a running back. Now, at 5-foot-11 and 198 to 200 pounds, the speedy back with shifty moves, power, and instincts is picking up steam in this recruiting thing.

He’s also making sure his body is right for the start of spring ball. Working out with professional trainer Almon Gunter, it is easy to see the good it has done.

“From the end of the season until now we have just been hitting it,” Sneed said while on hand at a Pro Impact combine late last month. “It took me a couple of months to get my body where it needs to go. They have turned me into a better athlete overall.”

Watching Sneed a year ago, his offense relied on him to do a lot of things. He would run of course, but would also run and throw from the quarterback position at times, and catch the ball out of the backfield or the slot. His versatility was key for his offense to operate.

“The position they put me in, it allowed me to do everything,” Sneed said. “I was running, throwing, and catching the ball. I think it added to my stock for when coaches go to look at my film.”

Coaches from all over are taking notice of Sneed after seeing his junior film. He describes what it is that makes him tick on the field.

“I would have to say my mind and the way I can process stuff,” he said while mentally going through it in his head. “I am always trying to learn throughout the game and may purposely allow you to have one up on me, and purposely allow you to tackle me just to see your body movements and how aggressive you are. I especially prepare before the game and watch linebacker tendencies and overall how a defense likes to play. I can outthink my opponents.”

A big time fan of the Crimson Tide as a youngster, Sneed knows that a college decision is something that requires a bit more than being a fan of a school and a program.

“It was mainly the running backs,” he said with a big smile as he recalled the big reason he liked Alabama. “You can see the history they have with a great line of running backs. It went from there and watching the running backs. You got to love the program more and more. It made it easier with winning championships. My mom grew up in Alabama and that kind of helped it.”

Alabama hasn’t come knocking, but if they do, he will be sure to check them out thoroughly.

“As much as I love Alabama my biggest thing is getting on the field as fast as possible and they seem to get 4-5 running backs every year,” he said.

One program that he would like to hear more from is Clemson. He had one of his best camp experiences with the Tigers and head coach Dabo Swinney.

“It is an offer I would like to get,” he said of the ACC power. “I went in there and shined and it was kind of the first break I got. It was the first time I felt like I for sure can play division one football. Coach Dabo and the energy he brings, I definitely wanted to be a part of it. We lost track over the years and my recruiting process. I would like to make a full roundabout back to them.”

The Florida Gators stopped by his school in January to check in with the coaches at Fleming Island. Defensive coordinator Geoff Collins made the rounds and was able to speak only very briefly to Sneed as per NCAA rules.

“Coach Collin came in and wanted to hear what my coach thought about me,” Sneed said. “He said that he couldn’t talk to me much, but they were really interested in me.”

A couple of weeks later, Sneed found himself in Gainesville visiting the Gators with his Pro Impact 7on7 team. The visit went very well and he got to meet Florida running back coach Tim Skipper for the first time.

“It went good,” he said about the Friday trip. “It is the first time I got to connect with Coach Skip, because he wasn’t the one that initially came to my school. I got to spend the whole time with him. We talked about football and just where he would like to see me at. He wanted to know the plans I had for recruiting and what I was deciding to do.

“Coach Skipper is a high energy and funny guy. He is pretty loose and not a stern person. As long as everyone gets their work done it will be fun. He seems like a cool guy to work with.”

Oddly enough he also met up with the coach that handed him his first scholarship offer. Marc Nudelburg is now the Special Teams quality control coach at Florida and was a tight ends coach and special teams coordinator at Cincinnati a year ago.

“My first offer was from the University of Cincinnati and Coach Nudelburg and he is actually the Special Teams Quality Control Coach at Florida,” Sneed said. “So I was trying to establish that relationship we had, but at a different school.”

The Gators are very interested in the young runner and told him they will keep in touch.

“They said I am on the board and that they will definitely be by in the spring to watch me in practice and establish a relationship,” he said. “They can’t text or call, but we talk over Twitter and stuff like that. It was just an introduction, and trying to start a relationship.”

Already familiar with the campus after a couple of camp trips, Sneed says things are quite different.

“I have seen the facilities a few times and just getting to meet the coaching staff was the biggest thing,” he said. “It is a different staff than Muschamp’s staff and Coach McElwain is much different than Coach Muschamp and Coach Skipper is much different than Coach White.”

He liked what they said about the offense.

“They said they will get the play makers the ball, he said of McElwain’s talk. “If you are a play maker you will get to carry the rock. The position is anybody’s to take and once you show that can produce on the field; you will be incorporated a lot into the offense.

Sneed was able to rattle off a top five schools, all of which have offered him.

Rutgers is definitely the number one school right now followed by UCF, Louisville, Georgia Tech, and Temple,” he said.

The Scarlet Knights have actually been a team he has looked at for a while even though they only recently offered. Norries Wilson coaches the running back and also happens to be the Jacksonville recruiter for the school.

“Before I was even offered, I knew a lot about the football program,” he said of Rutgers. “The person that trains me, Almon Gunter, used to train Jawan Jameson who was a running back at Rutgers. I always knew about the program and once they finally offered and I established a relationship with Coach Wilson, it put me over the edge. They preach family and I can see they practice what they preach. That is huge for me because I am definitely big on family."

The Golden Knights made a move into his top five this past weekend when his 7on7 team visited UCF after leaving Gainesville.

“UCF offered when we visited there,” he said. “That’s cool because of how close it is to home. Their football program is on the rise. They continue to get better and better. Now with a quarterback going number three in the draft, they have established that you can go to the NFL from there.”

Kolby Smith coaches running backs at Louisville and is a big reason the Cardinals are in the mix. That and the high powered Louisville offense run by Bobby Petrino.

“Coach Smith is from the Tallahassee area,” Sneed said. “He was a big time recruit and got to play in the league. He knows exactly where I am coming from and what I want to do. He’s basically a mentor and is always real with me. He doesn’t beat around the bush and I appreciate that. He’s a young guy and can really relate to me. Coach Petrino is also an offensive guru and who wouldn’t want to go and play for someone like that.”

The Yellow Jackets feature the best running game in college football, something that doesn’t fall on deaf ears to a guy like Sneed. Assistant coach Lamar Owens is another reason that he has remained interested in Georgia Tech.

“I have a relationship with Coach Owens,” Sneed said. He was one of the first schools to start recruiting me hard. He stayed consistent throughout the process. They had the number one running offense in the NCAA. As a running back that is a great opportunity. It is also a great academic school. A degree from Georgia Tech will take you much farther than most. After I am done with football I would have something great to fall back on.”

Another late offer for Sneed is Temple and he already knows that a degree from the Philadelphia school can also take you a long way.

“The academics are making me pay a great deal of attention to them,” he said of the Owl program. Coach (Elijah) Robinson and I are starting to establish a relationship. They offered me a little less than a week ago. I am just learning about the program and establishing relationships.”

While the gators aren’t in that top five, Sneed did add that an offer from the school 75 miles away would change things up a great deal for him.

“Most definitely,” he said in the affirmative. “Because of how close it is to home, business wise it is a great school, and it is the highest of the highest level of college football.”

In the end getting to know a staff is going to be the biggest influence on Sneed, he wants to go somewhere that feels like home and a family environment.

“Playing time is important, but the way I was brought up, we are big on relationships,” he said. “I want to go somewhere that I know I can trust them… just going somewhere that has that family affair. Of course college football is a business and there will be that side of it, but just knowing that the coach cares more than just about what you do on the field. Going to college and leaving home is a big step. Your mom and dad aren’t there every day. I want to go somewhere that I can feel comfortable and in good hands.”

And that decision isn’t too far away. He would hope to have a decision done by the end of May, when spring ball concludes, but he is bound and determined to have a decision made before the season starts.

“I plan to enroll early,” he said of showing up on campus somewhere in January 2016. “I want to make my decision no later than the summer. Optimistically I would like to be committed by the end of the spring, but I am not going to force the issue. Definitely I want to know by the end of the summer.”

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