Ride the recruiting momentum is exactly what they are doing as the Gators have landed Marsalis Teague.
"I committed to Coach Meyer over the phone and I guess they were having a coach's meeting because he told me to hold on and then put me and speaker phone and asked me to repeat what I said," Teague said. "When I did, all I heard was yelling in the background, it was a great feeling. Coach Meyer and Coach Bedford were both thrilled when I told them and they both kept telling me that I'll be needed next year."
First year cornerbacks coach Vance Bedford wants to recruit the most physically gifted athletic corners he can and that is exactly what he is getting with Marsalis Teague. Teague has the strength to play physical against the bigger receivers as well as the quickness and change of direction to play against the smaller type slot receivers. The Gators are getting the best of both worlds with the addition of Teague.
"Coach Bedford and I have a very good relationship," Teague said. "We have the type of relationship where we can have a conversation on the phone and not even mention the whole recruiting process and just talk about any and everything."
Teague has been thinking about this decision ever since he and his father sat with Meyer during his official visit to watch the Gators host LSU.
"When I visited Florida for the LSU game I remember sitting with Coach Urban Meyer in his office with my dad and thinking that I could commit to this man right now," Teague said. "Coach Meyer encouraged me to go home and pray about by decision with my family and make sure what I wanted to do before I made my choice."
That's exactly what Teague and his family did as they returned home to Tennessee. The family sat down and came up with some factors that they would ultimately use to base their decision on.
"Really and truly my thought process has been to make sure I am comfortable with wherever I choose to go and to be sure I have a feel for what the coaches are like and my family just told me to take my time and weigh my options and in the end Florida felt like the best place for me to continue my career," he said. "I have had it in my head for a while that I wanted to be a Florida Gator but I had to weigh my other options and the more I think about it the more I realize that Florida is the place for me."
One of the things that Teague knew would be a big factor was the kind of connection that he would make with the head coach.
"I would say that Coach Meyer and I have a good relationship as well. He has been stressing to me how important I am to this years recruiting class and that they're putting together a great class. He seems to be very motivational and is really down to earth."
Watching the Gators play on one than more occasion this year backed up what Teague knew deep down inside.
"I have seen them play three times this year and every time I watched them I just kept thinking to myself that I want to be out there trying to do what it takes to help what is already a great football team," Teague said. "I just love their overall aggressiveness on defense and the way they mix things up and keep the offense guessing. It means a lot to me to become a Florida Gator, although I am from the state of Tennessee, Florida just felt like the best place for me to be and my family and all my coaches have been telling me throughout this whole process that they don't care where I end up as long as I am happy and that place is Florida. I have been ready to play in The Swamp since I came down for the LSU game; the atmosphere down there was unbelievable."
While Teague felt like Florida was the place for him throughout this process his parents thought there was a good chance that he would end up a Miami Hurricane but they couldn't be happier the way things unfolded in the end.
"My parents had the feeling I was going to Miami because when I was young I was in love with the Canes but once I told them I was going to Florida they were even happier because Gainesville is a lot closer than Miami," he said. "And playing in the SEC they'll be able to make some of the road games as well and that was the main thing with my family is that the just wanted to be able to come to most of the games or at least all of the home games."
Teague, like so many great athletes at the high school level played quarterback for his team giving them the best chance to win week in and week out. The 5-11, 175-pound superstar from Paris (TN) Henry County High School ended the year 54-of-84 for 1,326 yards with 18 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Teague took full advantage of his 4.42-speed, rushing for 1,668 yards and 23 touchdowns on only 136 carries or better than 12 yards per carry. Teague hasn't been timed in the 40 since last year and thinks he can run even faster than his posted 4.42
Teague also had one interception, a fumble recovery, punt return and kickoff return for touchdowns and showed the kind of athleticism that made him one of the most highly recruited players in the country.
"I have offers from Florida, Alabama, Miami, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Missouri, North Carolina, Duke, Stanford, Michigan, Wake Forest and Memphis."
The daily wears and tears of the recruiting process can at times become difficult for families and the Teague's were no different. Constant emails, calls and visits all take valuable time away that can never be gained but Marsalis Teague feels truly blessed as a person and a football player and wanted to make sure that all Gator fans know a couple of things.
"I feel like my strengths as a player are most definitely my athleticism and my speed and the one thing I want all Gator fans to know about me is that I love making big plays," Teague said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to make a lot during my time down in The Swamp. I feel very excited and relieved to finally make my decision and announce that I am going to the University of Florida and now I can really get back on track with my offseason training and getting ready to wear that Orange and Blue next year."
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