Meyer Discusses the Class of 2008

After officially announcing the recruiting class of 2008, head coach Urban Meyer addressed the media.

Opening Statement
"Everyone's talking about the last three classes, and it's hard to say that this isn't my favorite class. If you look at the amount of time and research we spent on each player, I am awfully proud of our staff and I think we did it the right way."

"I am very pleased with the quality of student that we brought in. Obviously, we think that they will qualify or else we would not have signed them."

The new facility is going to be a tremendous help. It is going to be the front door of Florida Football. I told Jeremy Foley a story about Bo Schembechler when he was the coach at Miami of Ohio and didn't have great facilities. He used to put a tractor in an open lot and tell kids that's where the new football facility will go. I think we're going to do that."

"Overall, it is a great class and that makes it three in a row. We are going to have a roster of 25 upperclassmen and 60 underclassmen. We have 11 seniors so it is going to be a very young team. We have 31 players with three more years of eligibility and now 29 players with four years of eligibility. The future is bright and I am anxious to get back out there and coach our team."

On recruiting down the stretch
"We closed really well. Not that I'm into rankings, but the competitive part of me had me checking out the rankings. We were not ranked very high and then seven recruits later, there we are. Some teams are signing like 35 players and we have 22. I am not concerned about rankings, but a part of me likes to check. When you start adding people like Omar Hunter and T.J. Lawrence, who came in late, it became a good day for us."

"We had a bunch of guys who wanted to commit early, but I am not into that. We have people that say they want to commit but want to take four or five trips in the fall, so I tell them not to commit and to take those trips. The ones who commit early usually do not hold and that is why I am opposed to the early signing period as well."

On filling needs on the roster
"We have gone from recruiting where we will take whatever we can get to now we are trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together. Secondary is one of those areas, we have two tremendous corners coming in and three safeties entering as well. That is an area where we have to improve and I think we will."

On building depth
"If you look at the numbers, this is about as close as I have come to being right on in terms of numbers. I think we are going to operate at 83 scholarships next year and that is as close as we have been to 85."

On two coaches leaving
"If I felt like it was going to have a major impct I would have jumped right in and hired a coach. But I think it's more important to take our time like we did in recruiting. If you are going to try and hire a coach and close out recruits then you are doing one injustice to another. We made the decision to go as is and our staff busted their tails. At the end of the day, I do not think it really made that much of an impact at all."

On recruiting in South Florida
"Every year we do the research on South Florida. Before our staff got here, I always look at who played. Over the last couple years you look at Major Wright, Marcus Gilbert who's now been a big contributor, Deonte Thompson who's going to be a good player. I'd rather take a small number of guys who are going to play rather than sign six guys in whatever year that was and none of those six ever play. So I'm very pleased with what we're doing down there."

"Losing Doc Holliday, who recruited down there for a couple hundred years, we're now going to put Billy Gonzales in the Lake Okechobee/Broward County area and one of the new coaches I'm going to put right in the city of Miami. Great football players, Miami did a good job down there, but we're going to still go down, compete and try to get some players. Quality not quantity is going to be the key."

On David Young
"He had a rare injury in both knees, broken kneecaps, which we've never heard of before. He struggled his senior year. Today we got the CD of x-rays to make sure they're heeling. Once Dr. Pete gave us the 95 percent or better that he's going to be fine, we signed him. Certainly, we need him to sit and obviously we have Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins coming back and Carl Johnson and Marcus Gilbert, so we have a little stability. We just need him to come in and develop. I really like David Young. He's got a great mom, great family and I love his energy."

On who could make an immediate impact
"Omar Hunter is a guy. We wanted him, and we got him. I was told we were going to get it around 7:30-8:00. We didn't get it until 11:00. Those were a tough three hours. First of all, the kind of player he is, the kind of person he is, and he is qualified (academically). He could have a great series of defense for us. That's maybe putting too much pressure on him. He's a state champion. He's everything you want."

On Will Hill
"Will Hill, to commit on Friday Night Lights or right after, and to hold that commitment and not take trips, not put on a different hat and rip shirts open, I admire guys like that. It shows a lot to me about wanting to be a Florida Gator. He's also a very good player from a good high school."

On Carl Moore incident
"In recruiting, you are trying to find advantages. Florida has a bunch of built in advantages. Our academic support system, our strength program, our new facility, the crystal ball, the Heisman Trophy, the graduation rate, I could go on and on. Those are all really good selling points. If you want to compare that to other schools, which we do quite often, we look pretty good. You also have to have a defense mechanism. What if people go after us? You have too many players at your position, so you are not going to play often. You might lose a guy here and there. Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes not one time asked me who we have at those positions. Not one time did Troy Epps ask me. Omar Hunter was like that. I spent a lot of time with him and not one time did that come up. It is just like when we recruited Tim. Tim never asked me how many quarterbacks we have scholarship. That's a lot like Omar. Same with William Green. Not one time this year, did we have to explain last year's recruiting class."

On Earl Okine
"I love Earl, he's got a great mom and dad here in town. He's a big dude. Watch Earl over the next few years, Mickey Marotti loves him. He's got a little bit of the Carlos Dunlap in him. Big, fast, strong and for a long levered guy he's got a lot of strength. He's a good kid."

On T.J. Lawrence
"T.J. Lawrence and David Young were the two we knew were important. T.J. we knew about a week ago so that one was in our hip pocket and David Young, once we got clearance from the doctors we knew. T.J. Lawrence, he can play on either side of the ball. I watched one of his basketball practices and I knew he was the right one."

On Caleb Sturgis
"I understand he went out and kicked a 45-yard field goal and then turned around and kicked one the other way. For you math majors, that's a 65-yard field goal. So, I don't believe it, I need to see it, but that's what the boys are telling me. With them moving the kick-off back to the 30-yard line I think having a guy that can have a shot at popping out of the back of the endzone will be key."


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