Listed on offense on Scout, the Florida Gators are recruiting Darius Whitfield to play defense. Before coming on the trip to Junior Day this weekend in Gainesville, Whitfield already talked about being the next in line to carry around the infamous ‘Chucky Doll’ as a Gator, a tradition started a few years ago by NFL star Dominique Easley, then passed on to likely first round pick Dante Fowler and will be carried on this year by the next Gator Great lineman.
Whitfield put aside his penchant for the madness inspired by the scary doll and really looked into his trip to Gainesville. He liked what he was a part of over the weekend.
“It was all great,” he said. “The facilities were great, atmosphere was great, and it was great talking to the coaches.
“What really stood out was the college atmosphere at the school and going inside the stadium. The town had a real SWAMP type atmosphere. When I tried on the three jerseys, I felt like a player myself.”
They see Whitfield in the same mold as an Easley or maybe a Jonathan Bullard, the current senior All-SEC type player on the squad. At 6-foot-3 and 268 pounds, Florida defensive line coach Chris Rumph likes the chances of Whitfield playing some strong side end and some three-technique when needed.
“Coach Rumph is a real cool, down to earth guy,” Whitfield said. “You can tell he knows what he’s talking about. They tell me I am a defensive end that can move inside.”
When asked to give the visit a grade of 1-10, Whitfield had to go perfect for his short time in Gainesville.
“The visit was a 10!” he exclaimed. I have no leaders, but I have always loved Florida. I just had to get down there.
“Florida impressed me a lot, but what I was most fascinated by was the academic program. That really caught my eye. Yeah, Florida was great.”
In the end, the books are going to play a very important part in his decision, but not the only part.
“Academics are first for me, and then I want to get on the field,” he said. “I also want to be able to see myself at a place that I would like if I wasn’t playing football.”