Tyler Pritchett, all 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, is a wanted man. With over 20 offers, including almost half of the Southeastern Conference Pritchett has quite a few choices of places to visit and pick to play football at the college level. On Monday, he chose to visit Florida and the visit went about as well as could be expected.
The first real thing he did when on campus was have a meeting with Florida offensive line coach Mike Summers. Summers gave him a taste of the things the Gators will do in the new Jim McElwain offense.
“I sat down with Coach Summers in the offensive line meeting room and we talked scheme,” Pritchett said. “We talked a lot about inside and outside zones and calls they made in certain situations. I really liked what I was hearing.”
He also got to meet McElwain, the Gators’ head coach. And he was a bit taken back when the Gators’ leader knew exactly who he was at first sight.
“We were sitting in the lobby area by the coach’s office,” Pritchett said. “I got up and went away for a minute and came back and was about to sit down, and then I started to get up again and saw Coach McElwain and didn’t know it was coach McElwain. I thought he was a little taller than he actually is. When I started to move and as soon as he saw me, he said, ‘Hey Tyler, how are you doing today? I’m Coach Mac.’” I said, “OK, what’s up coach?’” Then we stood there, chatted, and took some pictures and stuff.”
Pritchett also saw practice and got a look at Florida’s offensive line. The numbers are really low, but he understands they will kind of fix themselves in the fall when the freshman class arrives. Either way, he knows he would have to earn a spot wherever he goes and he likes the unit the Gators are putting together.
“Their numbers are low, but they have the class coming in and those guys haven’t been on campus yet,” Pritchett said. “I think they are going to make something special.”It was ride into town, visit, and then back out of town on the five hour ride back home. Not a whole lot of time, but enough time to really make an impression on the young man.
“I would say the biggest thing for me was the vibe I got from the coaching staff and from Gainesville period,” Pritchett said. “It’s a great place. Everyone went about their business and it seems everyone wants to be successful. If you get around people like that, it makes you want to be successful.”
Hi comments were pretty outspoken so he was asked the differences between this college town and the one he is currently living in.
“I don’t think there is a comparison between Auburn and Gainesville,” said the young man who recently moved to Auburn from Birmingham. “I think there is more of a family slash I am ready to get down to business feel (in Gainesville). I don’t know what to say about Auburn, but I feel more at home in Gainesville.
He plays tackle now, but some schools see Pritchett playing on the inside and that includes Florida. Florida loves his tenacity at the line of scrimmage.
“They were saying they see me as a guard / center,” he said. “They said with my athleticism that they wouldn’t have a problem with me playing tackle.
“They say I am very aggressive and I have a very mean streak. They say I am the most athletic interior linemen they are recruiting. A lot of coaches talk about my pass blocking and my technique is very good.”
The Gators really made Pritchett feel wanted and with the whole atmosphere giving off such a good vibe, he left the town thinking Florida would be a good place to end up.
“I can honestly say that Florida would be my leader,” he said. “Florida blew it out of the water today (Monday).”As for his next move, Pritchett wants to definitely get back down to Gainesville, but he also really likes North Carolina and wants to pay them a visit as well.
“I will probably try and get back to Florida’s spring game,” he said. “I’ll also try and get to North Carolina for a visit there. If not, then I will probably go camp there to spend some time with the coaches and get a fee for Chapel Hill.”
What about the in-state schools? Well he lives in Auburn, but is from Birmingham, so the connection to the local school isn’t as much as you would expect. As a matter of fact, the two in-state powers Auburn and Alabama haven’t offered and that has really started to work against them big time.
“I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder because they haven’t offered me,” he said matter of fact like. “If it came down to them two and I had to pick it would be tough. I have a lot of friends and family at both. I am just using (no offer) it as motivation, and if I play against them say at Florida or a Mississippi State or somewhere, I will use it as motivation and fuel as an opportunity to play them.”
There is no strict deadline to get things done although he I a guy that would rather do it sooner than later.
“I wanted to get it done early and right after signing day last month, but I couldn’t find a school that was good for me,” he said. “I am thinking June 1, or so. If I haven’t made a decision then I will just wait it out and get focused for my senior year and a State Championship ring.”
When he does decide, he knows some of the things he is looking for.
“I want it to be the best fit for me as far as education and outside of football,” Pritchett said. “But, I don’t want to go somewhere that I sit for three years and then have a year to play. I want a place where there is a chance to compete and if I don’t win a spot then that is on me. I know I have to work hard.”