Catching up with Gator Signee Mike McIntosh

<b>Mike McIntosh's</b> decision to sign with the Florida over Clemson last February was one of the biggest surprises of a very successful signing day for Coach Zook's squad. I caught up with Mike this week, and he talked candidly about his choice to join his childhood favorite team, and what he's looking forward to the most about becoming a Gator.

"There are some things that people really don't know about me picking Florida. I was kind of committed to them since December under the table," Mike McIntosh said.

Although Mike says he was silently committed to Florida at the time, he still decided to officially visit Clemson in January.

"I went to Clemson for a visit and I committed to them as well. After that I cancelled my official visit to Florida, but I went up there the weekend of the Super Bowl, and nobody knew about it. I talked to one of their coaches and he gave me some things to think about."

With signing day quickly approaching, McIntosh found himself committed to two different schools. Everyone outside of the Gator coaches and Mike's parents thought he was a lock to Clemson due to what he had said publicly. It wasn't until the morning of February 5th that everyone found out his final destination.

"I told my parents just before I was introduced at our signing day party that I was going to be a Gator. I came out with the 2 hats on the table, and everyone was surprised because I had publicly committed to Clemson, and so they thought everything was over. I picked up the Florida hat, but Florida didn't find out that I was definitely coming until they got the fax. Clemson was calling the school trying to find out what happened. It was pretty crazy."

So what was it that actually shifted the advantage to the in-state program?

"I looked at it, and I just saw an equal opportunity at Clemson and Florida. Chris Leak is what tilted the scales, and that's not taking anything from Clemson. I've been going to Gainesville for a long time, because I had a cousin and an uncle who went to school there. It's just a certain feeling I get when I'm there. Since I was little I have always liked them. I didn't want to regret not choosing Florida later down the road."

What are Mike's expectations for himself when he finally begins practice for the Gators?

"I'm going in with the mentality of learning. I need to work on the little things and just get adjusted to college life. I'm going to have a great chance to play going in."

With McIntosh residing in the state of Florida, he's very familiar with the intensity of the rivalries the Gators have with the Canes and Noles. Not to mention the fact that UF plays it's annual game with Georgia in his own backyard every year.

"I want to be involved with the rivalries. I watch the Florida/Georgia game every year, and I have dreamed of playing in Alltel Stadium since they built it."

How has the Jacksonville standout been preparing himself for the battles to come this Fall?

"They sent me a workout book after I signed, and I have been following that. Me and Reggie Lewis have been running routes together since right after signing day as well."

What emotions will be going through Mike's head when he steps into the Swamp as a Gator player for the first time?

"I'm going to be excited. The fans there are so wild. I've never played in front of that many people in my life."

McIntosh currently plans to major in Sports Management when he gets to school. He reported his current size is at 6'1 178lbs.

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