Pupello Sees Chances For Early PT

It's not surprising that Tampa Jefferson tight end Trent Pupello was off to work out when he fielded my call. He seemingly thrives in his role as the dependable warrior whether it's on the playing field, the gym for workouts or in the classroom. This is a kid who is motivated to be the best in whatever he does. Pupello took in a lesson on academic life at Florida this past weekend, and that too, motivated him.

(Trent Pupello profile)

"I loved the visit," Pupello promptly replied. "It was better than I'd even expected. I'm more excited now than ever about my decision. They took us through the academic center and we learned about the tutors and how the counselors help organize you and get you on the right path.

"The coaches left the room and the parents got to ask the players who were here questions about the program. They were allowed to ask what they wanted. The players pretty much all said that they (Florida) give you the resources to succeed. It's really up to you to follow through with it. They didn't say it was easy or anything but with everything in place, it's hard not to make it. It sounds good to me."

Pupello is a 6-4, 250-pound specimen who runs 40 yards in 4.7 seconds. The long, blonde hair that hangs below his helmet and his sure hands make people think instantly of Jeremy Shockey, the former University of Miami All-American tight end who now plays in the NFL for the New York Giants.

The son of former Gator offensive lineman Joe Pupello, Trent committed to the University of Florida back on November 30, just four days after he had sat on the Florida recruit bench at The Swamp when the Gators cleaned Florida State's clock, 34-7.

For his official visit this past weekend, Pupello visited the Florida campus with nine other players who have committed to the Gators, including fellow Tampa Bay area natives Jarred Fayson, A.J. Jones, and Terron Sanders. He acknowledged that the group and other Florida commits have bonded strongly in the weeks leading up to National Signing Day.

"It seems like we're all teammates already and we haven't signed yet," he stated. "It's funny in a way. We've talked about that. We call each other, text message … all of that stuff. We're really like a family already."

He understands the opportunities are available for him to see early playing time. Tate Casey is the only true tight end on the Florida roster. Cornelius Ingram, who spent his first two years at UF as a quarterback, is being moved to the position as well but Ingram may be more of a hybrid, sort of a tight end/H-back/wide receiver rolled into one. Pupello is a true tight end who already has NFL size.

He is a sound, aggressive blocker who has exceptional hands. He's got so many tools that should allow him to succeed at the next level but that doesn't mean he doesn't have room to improve.

"Coach (Steve) Addazio (UF tight ends coach) told me to work on my speed," Pupello said. "He didn't say that my speed was slow or anything. He just said that everything (at this level) is faster. I need to work on speed and getting stronger, which is pretty much what we all need to work on. He said that they need me at tight end and that all of the tight ends will play on the special teams."

When Trent Pupello decided he would be a Florida Gator, he was riding by himself in his car, thinking things over. It hit him suddenly that Florida was where he wanted to be, where he'd always wanted to be, so he called Coach Urban Meyer and committed to Florida.

He's been happy with that decision ever since. Saturday in Gainesville, he understood completely why he had made the choice in the first place.

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