It's Official! Haupt Commits To UF

The worst kept secret in the world became public info Wednesday night on "Countdown to Signing Day" when Merritt Island's Eddie Haupt made it official that he will be a Florida Gator. For weeks now, as Haupt has kept a recruiting diary for, it has been clear that the Gators were firmly in control of this recruiting race and whatever speculation there was that he could be turned to another school ended on CTSD.

"I am thinking that the Gators are right there to win a national championship," said Haupt, who was visited at Merritt Island High School last Friday by new Gator football coach Urban Meyer. "I want to be a part of that as much as I can."

Haupt is a 6-4, 290-pound offensive guard who plans to get a jump on fellow recruits by enrolling in January so that he can participate in spring practice. With the coaching change, the timing just seems right to go early entry since he will be learning a new system with everyone else.

"I think it's better that I am coming in now, because I will be on the same page as everyone else as it pertains to the new system," Haupt said. "I do need to get bigger, stronger, and faster in order to compete with the guys that have been in a college training program for many years.

"They expect me to do a lot of conditioning when I get there January 4th. "

Although he was very close to Coach Ron Zook and offensive line coach Joe Wickline from the former Florida staff, Haupt never wavered in his desire to play for the Gators even when Zook was fired. He stayed in touch with the Gator coaches throughout the transition process, particularly with Coach Mike Locksley, who will remain with the Florida staff as the recruiting coordinator. Additionally, coaches Chuck Heater and Mike Hevesy from the Utah staff, have been in touch in the past couple of weeks.

Once Meyer was named the Florida coach, he immediately contacted Haupt, and that kept Haupt's commitment steady.

"I got to talk to Coach Meyer and speak to him and he kept me steady about coming to the University of Florida," Haupt said.

Haupt is an exceptional student who scored well over 1300 on his SAT. While he is an outstanding football player, he sets his first sights on academic goals. He had a chance to share them with Meyer during their visit.

"He knew he didn't have to worry about my academics when I told him I want to be pre-med and win the academic Heisman," Haupt recalled. "He (Meyer) said, 'The Draddy Award?' He knew that wasn't going to be a problem."

A guard/tackle in high school, Haupt projects to be a center or a tackle at Florida. Many believe that because of his excellent footwork and sharp mind that he would be the perfect successor to the Gators all-star center Mike Degory.

"The way that Coach Meyer explained it, he thought I would either play center or tackle," he said.

He likes the intensity he sees in the new Florida coach and has made a good connection also with Hevesy, who has been the offensive line coach for Meyer at both Bowling Green at Utah.

"I can't wait to get to work for them," he said. "Coach Meyer is real intense. I think what you see is what you get with him and I liked what I saw. Coach Hevesy is a good guy too and I look forward to playing for him too."

By enrolling in January, however, Haupt will not be able to participate in his favorite track and field event in the spring. He's been the anchor leg of Merritt Island's "Fat Man Relay" the past couple of years, an event that requires all four participants in the 4X100 meter event to weigh at least 250 pounds.

Merritt Island's loss is Florida's gain, however. The expectations are high, but Haupt is the kind of kid who is accustomed to setting the bar high and then exceeding all expectations.

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