RECRUITING: Pupello talks about recent visit

Thirty years later history may repeat itself. Joe Pupello was a starting guard for the Florida Gators from 1974-1976. On the thirtieth anniversary of his senior season, Pupello may see history repeat itself as his youngest son, Trent Pupello, prepares for life in big time college football. The Tampa Jefferson tight end recently received an offer to be a Florida Gator and spent a Saturday in The Swamp to get a taste of what it's like to be a Gator.

(Trent Pupello profile)

After receiving the offer, Pupello decided to take a visit to Florida during the Vanderbilt game last Saturday. He was treated to a much closer game then expected and a better atmosphere than he ever remembered.

"I haven't been to a Gator game in a long time and they offered me a couple of weeks ago. I had a good time at the game. I hadn't been to a Gator game in a long time -- I forgot how intense the crowds were. The team and atmosphere, I really like it."

Trent has two older brothers that both played football in Tampa. The middle brother visited Gainesville for a recruiting trip before eventually signing elsewhere.

"The last game I saw was when my brother was being recruited there for the 2002-2003 recruiting season. My middle brother (Kyle) is playing with NW Mississippi Junior College. He signed with Georgia Tech, but left there. He will be eligible to transfer at Christmas time. Some of the Mississippi schools are recruiting him."

Trent really just enjoyed the whole day in Gainesville. He spent some time taking in the newer traditions that Coach Meyer has instilled in Gainesville.

"We got to the stadium and went to the Gator room for a little bit," said Trent. "We watched the players walk across the field for the Gator Walk. Then we got on the sidelines for the warm-up. We watched the game for the half, but I had to drive back -- I didn't have a hotel."

The Gators are probably an easy sell to Pupello, as he could see with his own eyes that the Gators have a lack of depth at the tight-end position.

"They are telling me I will be a tight end and a little bit of H-back," he said. "They only have one tight end in the program. Latsko's the second guy. That's a real big selling point."

While Pupello's first was good, his second visit promises to reach an entirely different level with FSU coming to town to take on the Gators in three weeks. The Seminoles have long been the team to beat for his services. Florida State is losing a few tight ends this year and they have also been on Pupello's trail for quite some time.

"I have been to three games at Florida State," he said. "They offered me a while ago, so that's why I went there. I like them a lot. They are losing three senior tight ends and they have two tight ends committed already." "But, I really liked Florida this weekend though," added Pupello..

The Clemson Tigers have a different draw for Pupello. Family ties are opening his eyes to the Tigers of the ACC.

"My first cousin plays tight end for them," he said. "(Senior) Bobby Williamson is the starting tight end for them. He played at East Lake HS in Tarpon Springs and I grew up with him. They throw to the tight end a lot. I was supposed to go there this weekend but that fell through."

Oklahoma, LSU, and Nebraska finish out the top six for Pupello at the moment, but he admitted that he didn't know a lot about the their programs.

A decision is also not coming any time soon. He wants to have a little fun with the schools that are so willing to tempt him to sign. "I don't know when I will make a decision, I am enjoying the process," he said. "I will probably take all five visits. I will go where I will feel most comfortable and like the coaches. Playing time and the school is also important," said Pupello.

The end of the regular season is here and Jefferson finished 7-2 and will face Bradenton Southeast in the first round of the state playoffs. Pupello doesn't have his stats for the season but says his coach is very proud to share that he is 22 of 22 catching the ball when it is thrown to him.

Trent Pupello has a 2.8 GPA and has a straight-A average this scholastic year and he says he is qualified. "Last semester I had straight A's so my GPA is a 2.8. I am qualified already. I want to get into sales or contracting or something like that."

The Florida Gators, with their offer, are certainly hoping that a second generation of Pupellos will continue what might be a tradition for years to come in their athletic family. Here's to hoping that history repeats in this case!

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