UF Commit Dream Come True for Ryan Stamper

Ask Ryan Stamper if dreams come true, and on this night, at least, he'll say yes, yes, a thousand times yes. <p> Ryan Stamper was all set to go play football at Auburn, but that was before his weekend in Gainesville. Now, the 6-4, 220-pound linebacker from Jacksonville First Coast knows for sure that dreams come true.

Tonight there was no doubt that he is absolutely ecstatic about his decision to de-commit from Auburn and play college football for the Florida Gators.

"Man, it's like a dream come true to be able to play for the Gators," said Stamper, who de-committed from Auburn and committed to the Florida Gators Sunday.

There were four factors that played into the decision.

"Just looking at the linebacker situation and the opportunity to come in and play right away was very important," he said. "Playing ball at Florida is very close to home and my parents will be able to come watch me play. Also, getting a chance to play with three good friends and former teammates again (former First Coast stars Reggie Lewis, Kenneth Tookes and Mike McIntosh) is something I couldn't pass up."

Finally, there was the feel for the school.

"I just couldn't see myself at Auburn," he said. "It's too much like the country. It just didn't feel like me. Auburn is a very nice place but I knew it wasn't home."

Ryan Stamper who was hosted by his former teammate, Mike McIntosh, said he made the commitment this morning to head coach Urban Meyer and co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong before heading back home.

"Coach Strong told me that have to be ready to come in and play," he said. "I'm really excited about that. I really like Coach Meyer's attitude about everything. He definitely has it right!"

Another factor weighing heavily in Stamper's decision was the overall atmosphere with his future teammates.

"It was just really cool there," he said. "Everyone just seemed like one big family. They really look out for each other there. I could tell right away that I would be able to fit right in."

Stamper is anxious to get started and says he wants to play the middle and feels like he will be given a chance to do so. But in the final analysis he states, "I'll do whatever will help the Gators win championships. We are going to win our share I know that much."

The hardest part about his day was calling the Auburn coaches and telling them that he will be going to the University of Florida.

"Yeah, letting the Auburn coaches know was definitely the hardest part but they understood and wished me well," he said.

GATOR COUNTRY TAKE: Ryan Stamper has a chance to be a bigtime contributor in a hurry. He's got the size and the speed, plus the football instincts to be something special.


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