RECRUITING: Gators Hot On Trail Of Josh Minton

When you are a 6-4, 247-pound terror of a pass rusher like Josh Minton of Somerset (KY) Southwestern Pulaski County, it is not unusual to have a mailbox filled with letters and scholarship offers from the nation's 117 Division I football schools. There have been more than 20 legitimate offers so far, but the two that are showing him the most love are Florida and Virginia Tech. ALSO: VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS.

Profile & Video Highlights: Josh Minton

"I couldn't necessarily list a group of favorites right now, but I would say Florida is recruiting me the hardest," Minton said. "Virginia Tech is recruiting me hard too. One advantage that these two schools have is that both have their d-line coach recruiting me and I have gotten a chance to know them."

The connection to Florida is the Gators' defensive line coach Greg Mattison, who doubles as Florida's co-defensive coordinator along with Charlie Strong. Mattison came to the Gators from Notre Dame where he saw Minton up close and personal in a camp setting.

"Coach Mattison … I have talked to him on the phone numerous times when I called him," Minton said. "I have known him from when he coached at Notre Dame and I went to camp there last summer. I have a pretty good relationship with him. He is my kind of coach. He is a real hard nosed guy. He believes in work ethic and pushing people to be the best they can be. That is what I am used to, so I want to keep on."

Mattison has already seen Minton in action at camp, but he came by school to see how the young man works in the weight room and he interacts with his teammates. Minton took notice of the way that Mattison looked him over and he was impressed. He hasn't seen the head Gator (Urban Meyer) yet, but he's talked to him on the phone.

"He (Mattison) came by the school this week to watch me lift weights and stuff like that," Minton said. "Coach Meyer hasn't been out but I have gotten a chance to talk to him. He is a really good guy … he goes along with the work ethic also. He was pushing guys while he was coaching the spring game on TV … it was really intense."

Minton thinks that intensity by the head Gator is likely to rub off on the team this year, lifting the Gators to a high national ranking.

"I think Florida has always had the talent," Minton said. "I think Coach Meyer and his staff are really bringing the discipline back to the program and I think they are going to be a great program now."

Coach Charley Wiles at Virginia Tech is recruiting Minton for the Hokies. Minton likes Wiles and he likes the way the Hokies get after the ball on defense.

"I have watched their d-line in recent years and they have always been very good and of course he (Wiles) has been there for a while," he said. "He definitely knows what he is doing."

His summer schedule is pretty full, but he has room to add a few extra stops along the way. By the time August gets here, football might seem like a vacation.

"We already went through spring practice we are onto summer practice right now," he said. "Right now we are not allowed to go full pads, so we are doing more with the lifting and speed and conditioning program just to help us get into shape for the passing tournaments and stuff. We will be going to UK, Louisville, EKU, Western Kentucky, and Vanderbilt."

He also wants to do a personal tour to look into his future and get a better glimpse of the schools pursuing him.

"I plan to go to a lot of one day camps so I can get to know the coaches and see how they can work with me," he said, "but I haven't necessarily made a schedule."

He will definitely make a stop in Gainesville to visit the campus of the University of Florida.

"Yes sir," he said. "I don't have a date. I wasn't sure whether I was going to go to camp or just come for a visit."

He has eight months to make a college decision so he's not quite ready to narrow down his list of favorites. By the time the summer is over, he should be able to declare who's among his group of finalists.

"I couldn't make a prediction on what I plan to do," he said. "I think I will see at the end of the summer and try and narrow it down and go from there."

He is starting to form the decision criteria in his head and knows a little of what he is looking for in a program. The coaching staff will seem to play a huge part in that decision.

"I think the main decision will be based on the relationship with the coaches," he said. "Of course, mainly with the defensive line and strength coaches but also the head coach … I would really like him to be more of a personable guy, not be the typical head coach. I want him to have a personal relationship with all of his players."

There isn't much to dislike about Josh Minton. He seems to have his priorities right and is willing to take his time to make one of the biggest decisions of his life. He is ready to put the effort into the decision making process so that his final choice will be the one he knows is the best. He is a big, fast pass rusher who seems to have a good grip on what is important in life.

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