"The decisions are always affected by some unbelievable situations. I have great respect for these young guys. I admire them. It's very easy to not play sports and very easy to not have to make a decision when you are 17-years-old and select a university. I've heard coaches say selecting a university is a lot like buying a car. I thought to myself it's not like that because you can sell a car. I equate it to selecting a bride because you aren't supposed to trade in your bride. You are supposed to be stuck with that person for the next four years of your life. I tell those kids, ‘Wait a minute. You are making a decision. Whether you like it or not, you are attached to this university for the next four years of your life.' I think that's when young people sit back and say, ‘What did this guy just say? Four years of my life? I'm 18 years old.' So I admire these young people and what they go through.
"It's different now, and we need to know that. I want to be an ambassador for these young guys for the next couple of months and let people know what they are going through. They have all different kinds of pressures on them. They will have three different people calling them telling them different things, and an uncle calls and says, ‘You need to go here.' These young men are under a lot of pressure."
"We are fortunate at Florida to not only recruit premiere athletes but premiere student-athletes, and this class is really representative of that fact. Of the 27 signees, 26 are on course to qualify. They are high-character people, and this is critical and should be critical to the University of Florida. The coaches and I have a great relationship with these guys. This was a great day for Gator football.
"I am excited about starting up our off-season program on Monday. We have to make sure that all these guys will make it, which they should. This is a really good class. I will not say that it is a great class because you will evaluate that in another three years. If they graduate, if they help you win championships and if they are fortunate if they make it to the NFL - that's how you truly evaluate a class."
On total speed and playmaking abilities… "It was a premium. Our longest run from scrimmage in the big games was 29 yards. It is one area that we need to improve. Three players that I'm excited about in this area are Chevon Walker, who is a sprinter from the state of Florida, Mon Williams from Texas and probably the gem that everyone is talking about is Percy Harvin from Virginia. We've got a group of receivers and playmakers at running back that I'm very pleased with.
"Obviously the playmaking starts with the quarterback position as well. Chuck Heater said that a couple of recruits got away today, which kind of stings a little bit. But, if I told you a month ago that we would have Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Mon Williams, would we take that? Of course we would take that."
On recruiting rankings… "There is a little competitive edge. I hate to say this, but I actually hit a website and saw we were ranked a little bit ago. The competitive part of me wants to see where we end up. Unfortunately, I have coached a bunch of guys that never had stars after their names, but I had a bunch of championship rings because of those players. It is meaningless in the long run. I think it is fun for the fans and certainly coaches look at it and players look at it, but as of today that is over."
On Tim Tebow… "The win over FSU and Tim Tebow were the two major of momentum. Wome teams get momentum later, some earlier. Ours came with the win over FSU and then when Tim Tebow said he was going to be a Gator. It knocked probably 10 to 14 guys in the hole right after that. That was a big part of this whole class. He did a great job selling this program, too. He was a recruiting fool. He loves Florida, and he is a leader."
On Mon Williams… "He has size and speed. The one thing that we evaluate at the running back position is pass protection. We throw the ball so the running back is responsible for blocking linebackers. The one thing we need is some size with our backs. Ideally, you like to have a nice combination of speed and size. I think Mon Williams gives us that. He is a 6-1, 205 pound guy right now. He's a 100m runner, so he has the speed and athleticism, but we're anticipating him to be 215 back by the time August gets here."
"There is a lot of pressure for a young guy to stay in state. What I am finding is more and more of the pressures to not leave are hard on the guys. Mon Williams is an example of a guy who had a lot of pressure for him to stay for a local school. He wanted to be a Gator."
On positions to fill in coming classes… "At cornerback, we wanted to stay alive on that position and I think Wondy Pierre-Louis is going to really help us if he makes it. Jacques Rickerson and Markihe Anderson are also huge additions. Because we play so much man coverage, we are a little short there. I believe we signed four on the offensive line, and our target was five this year. The positive thing is that is one more to pick up next year. The negative thing is that we are one short in the offensive line."
On recruiting in-state and out-of-state players… "I really like recruiting in Texas. We have great respect for Texas high school football. Right now, we have Kestahn Moore and Mon Williams, two tailbacks from Texas. We also have Tate Casey, David Nelson and Jarvis Moss. There is one characteristic of those guys - they are all hard workers. Every one of them were brought up in big time high school football. I think you match that with Florida and the surrounding local states.
"One area where we got the two best players was out of North Carolina. I have already gone by the schools of the top players next year in the state of North Carolina. Tampa was big for us this year as well. The South Florida area is somewhere we need to continue to improve. I feel great about Jacksonville and Central Florida."
On areas the new class will help the team improve immediately… "The first area is skill. Two of those corners will come straight in and play. Bryan Thomas from Zephyrhills is a young guy that is an untapped talent, and I think he'll play. You see guys like A.J. Jones and Dustin Doe."
"This year, we were inadequate at some positions on the kicking game because we either made the decision to redshirt them or we were just short. When you have the lack of depth at linebacker like we had, it is an area where your special teams players come from. In our safeties and corners, we did not have the numbers. For sure, two corners will play. I would have to say Dustin Doe and A.J. Jones will play. There is an excellent chance Brandon Spikes will play right off the bat."
On Bryan Thomas: "He was here for our camp and he was dominant. He was a great young man. When he gets here we will stick him on the training table and add some size. He is going to help us.
On the locker room after the Florida State game: "Brandon Siler sang the fight song and Jamar Hornsby was the first one to start the onslaught. Jarred Fayson was right there and I shook his hand. Jacques Richardson, Brandon James were also there. I'm not sure who else was in there, but then a couple of hands started showing up saying they wanted to come to Florida. It was nuts. It was the way a locker room is suppose to be.
On recruiting in South Florida: "I don't think, I know we have the right coach down there recruiting. He's been down there 25 years or longer. We've got a couple of kids out of there the past few years with Marcus Gilbert and Simon (Codrington) who is here. The last two years we've done all right. Next year is a strong year there so we're going to hammer it. It is not because of effort. I think it is just a tough area.
On players who were not highly rated by services: "Brandon James is a guy that I'm not sure where he was ranked. He's a returner and obviously we had issues in our return game this year when Vernell (Brown) went down. When he went down we really didn't have a punt returner and when Andre Caldwell went down we really struggled in kickoff returns. The one guy to watch is Wondy Pierre-Louis. You watch him. He's got great athleticism. There was great research and great work done by Coach (Chuck) Heater and our staff. I'm glad he's a Gator."
On Percy Harvin: "The first thing you is speed. He is a guy that is competitive. You flip on the tape and watch three plays and go on to the next one thinking he's as good of football player and athlete as there is in America. We first heard his name about the same time we heard (Tim) Tebow. We watched about three or four plays and went on to the next guy.
On the importance of recruiting local players: "I'm a big fan of local guys after what Vernell Brown and Billy Latsko did and some of the success Florida has had with some of the players that have come from Gainesville and the surrounding areas."
On Carl Johnson "He was the first big name guy to jump on board. Our biggest concern is we lost four players on the offensive line and there is a chance Carl will be asked to play as a true freshman. The fact he's here is a gigantic step."
On the Florida quarterback situation: "In five years I don't think I've ever had more than two so it is kind of a scary deal. For our third quarterback we are attempting to find a walk-on that can come in and play. Jarred Fayson is a guy who played high school quarterback. He can throw the ball pretty good, he's a good athlete and he can run some option. He will take some snaps. The problem is the other ones won't come for a while with the great ones you have. In the next class I think they will.
On recruiting committing and signs elsewhere: "That happens in the South as much or more than anywhere else. There was an inordinate amount of decommits. In one week we had six or seven receivers commit and I was the first guy to say how is that going to hold. We kept recruiting and kept recruiting. That's part of the deal and you deal with it and go on. We try as a staff to be respectful when a guy commits. When a young man says I'm done then we're done. If he leaves a crack open you try to get him to visit your campus. As long as he gives you the crack that's part of the business and recruiting.
On how much time UF puts into recruiting: "We put a lot of time in, but to recruit to Florida is not hard especially with the support staff we have. We work extremely hard at it and we love it. We have guys that work their tales off at it.
On the impact the win against Florida State had: "Recruiting is about momentum. I think there are a couple of schools across the country that had bad years and their recruiting dipped a bit. We hit a couple of bumps in the road in the middle of the season and finished strong. We were sliding a little bit, but the team rallied back and won the last two games. If we would have lost the last two there was no chance we would have had the recruiting class like we had. We would have signed the same number, but the quality would have been no where close if we would have stumbled.
On the pressure to win after a highly ranked signing class: "The pressure would still be there if we would have had the number six ranked recruiting class. It is our job to develop them. Someone did a deal on the internet about the real number one and evaluated the recruiting classes of the last four or five years and that's a great job by the coaching staffs developing talent."