Buford (Ga.) defensive tackle Shug Frazier is one of very few massive defensive linemen the Florida Gators are looking at right now and with no DT’s committed, his importance to what Florida needs in the 216 class cannot be overstated.
With that in mind, Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins found his way to Buford on Monday and was able to watch Frazier in person. Silly NCAA rules kept the two from having a casual conversation, but Frazier still was able to get the feeling of being wanted.
“He came during weightlifting, so he stopped and talked to one of my running back coaches and my head coach and my d-line coach,” Frazier said about Collins. “They just spoke. He just showed me that he was there and watched while I was working out and let me know he was there. He DM’ed me (on Twitter) afterward and let me know he was glad to see me and that I need to get down for a game. I am pretty excited about it.”
The Gators have reached heights early this season that were unexpected. But the way Frazier sees it, this program was going to get it going pretty soon.
“I think Florida has something going right now,” he said. “They are definitely on a roll. They had a bump in the road (loss to LSU this past weekend) and every team has one. Obviously it was either LSU or Florida and there were some fits here and there that I am sure the coaches are going over now.
“Overall, they are having a great year. It’s not too surprising. Florida is due for their year and this is their year. I feel like they are building something in their program. Between all the coaches and Coach Rumph, they are pretty hype. They have their guys round up and they have something going.”
Along with Collins, Frazier talks to Florida defensive line coach Chris Rumph, Both coaches like what they see in Frazier and how he would translate at Florida.
“I talk to Coach Rumph and Coach Collins a great bit,” he said. “They like that I’m a go-getter and hard-nosed. I could fit nice in that fast hard-nosed defense.”
Frazier is in no rush in the process but does list five schools that are standing out to him at the moment.
“I have a top five in no order… Florida, Miami, UNC, Tennessee, and NC State”, he said before talking about each program.
Miami: “What I like about Miami is pretty much the same thing I like about Florida. They both have that hard-nosed go get them type defenses. Florida ball is just nasty. Defense is something that both teams pride themselves on. Really all of these teams pride themselves on their defense. It is just that nasty go get them type defense that I love from their coaches and players.”
Tennessee: “They are also due. I like where they are going. They are moving up. Like any other team they have their hiccups, but as a team they are moving forward. They have a future in mind and I feel like they are doing a great job of moving forward.”
North Carolina: “You have to love Coach Tray Scott (defensive line) and Coach Charlton Warren (defensive backs). They are really genuine and keep it 100 with you. They won’t sugar coat anything. They tell it how it is and keep it moving and I love that about them.”
NC State: “You can’t say much about NC State without first recognizing Coach Ryan Nelson (defensive line) and Coach Dave Doeren (head coach). Those two guys are really great guys and I love what they‘re doing moving ahead with NC State. They are hot in defensive production in the nation and that shows a lot from a defensive coordinator, defensive line coach, and head coach.”
Florida: “I like how well they play together. From the defensive line, to the linebackers to the secondary, they are all on the same page. They aren’t individual and they all make the play together. That really stands out to me, team play, I always loved that.”
Frazier isn’t sure when a college decision might come. He really wants to explore his opportunities among these five teams and see where it goes.
“I don’t have a set date,” he said. “I just talked to my dad and he asked the same thing. I told him I don’t want to rush and that I want to see everyone and see what they have to offer. I want to hear all the coaches and see how I feel in the environment that I will be in for the next four years.”
What is it he is looking for in a program?
“Of course you want to be Superman and expect to be invincible, but you have to have the mindset that if I get hurt do I like the school I am at?” he said. “Do I enjoy the players I am around or does the relationship I have with the coach I am going to spend the next four years with really strong, or am I not going to like the school I am at very much? All of that and how far from home I will be. All of that will factor in.”
As for trips he will likely take, he believes two will happen so far.
“I did just schedule to see Miami to play on the 21st (of November) and then hopefully I can get down to Florida to see them play against Florida State,” he said. “I want to see the Florida-Florida State game on the 28th; I know that will be a really great atmosphere for that game.”