"I committed to coach Urban Meyer last night," T.J. Pridemore said Sunday afternoon. "I knew coach Doc Holliday and his entire family, including his wife Diana and his son Cade who is a walk-on at the University of Florida. I've spent a lot of time with Cade and a lot of other players in the past."
It was Pridemore's relationship with Cade Holliday and what he was able to learn about UF's staff that helped draw him to Florida.
"In all my time around Cade and the other players, I've never heard anything but good things about the staff," Pridemore said. "Meyer gets the maximum potential out of each individual kid through different types of competition. You're either a winner or a loser on that particular day and I love that. It brings out the best of your abilities as a player. They have the best combination of athletics and academics in the country and it makes winners on the field."
Florida's athletic director also made a big impression on the Georgia native.
"I had a great talk with the athletic director Jeremy Foley," Pridemore said. "It was amazing. They have a great combination with coach Billy Donovan and coach Meyer. The athletics are great at the University of Florida and it starts with Jeremy Foley."
While in Gainesville over the weekend, Pridemore said the environment just felt right.
"This weekend I had a great feeling on Florida," he said. "They are so special besides the staff and players. They get tons of support from the city of Gainesville. It's amazing. Everyone gets along and Cade Holliday who was my host was telling everyone that I was going to be a Gator, and they were all excited that I would become a Gator. It's a great program with great players and coaches. I'm just glad to be a part of it, and I'm ready to compete."
Pridemore had originally committed to Georgia Tech, but after the coaching change, he reopened his recruiting process.
"Everything started off real happy and I was excited about committing to Georgia Tech and the possibility of getting early playing time," Pridemore said. "The academic aspect at Georgia Tech is great and so is the coaching staff. But when the coaching staff changed, that kind of made me rethink my decision. It wasn't as if I only wanted to play for coach Chan Gailey and coach Jon Tenuta. I meet with coach Paul Johnson. I think he's a great coach, but when the staff changed, new schools started back in with me and the University of Florida was consistently recruiting me throughout the entire process."
Even when Pridemore was committed to Georgia Tech, the Gators never gave up on him.
"Coach Holliday and coach Greg Mattison have been recruiting me to Florida this whole time and they stayed with me," he said. "When I decided that Georgia Tech wasn't the best fit for me, I went there and told them face to face."
Once Pridemore gets to Florida, he could see time on both offense and defense.
"They're looking at me as a combination linebacker and H-back," he said. "But it looks like the H-back spot is wide open from what they're telling me, and I thought that I would be a great fit. But at the same time, all the defensive coaches want me at linebacker. They told me that if I come up to them and say, ‘coach, I think I'm better than that guy,' then I'll get my shot. Regardless, I'll get a look at both linebacker and H-back. But it doesn't matter to me whatsoever. I want playing time at the University of Florida."
Pridemore also talked about his style of play.
"I'm a very physical, nasty player when I hit the field," he said. "I'm very competitive and God has blessed me with great size, speed and strength to be able to do what I do on the field."
Pridemore said he benches 345-pounds, power cleans 350-pounds and squats 485. He said he runs a 4.48 40-yard dash on a track and 4.55 on grass with cleats.
"I graduated from high school and now I am working out daily at Competitive Edge Sports," he said. "I'm trying to lose a little weight and add more muscle."
Pridemore will talk more in depth about his decision to become a Gator this Wednesday on In the Huddle – Recruiting Edition with host Matt Stewart who will be joined by Scout.com's national recruiting expert Jamie Newberg. The show airs from 7-7:30 p.m. on Comcast Sports South (CSS).
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Jason Higdon
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