Updated on Saturday at 5:45 p.m.
If you’re already going to make a statement and commit to the Florida Gators out of the state of Ohio, doing so with a live alligator by your side is absolutely a good idea.
That is exactly what four-star offensive tackle George Brown, Jr. (Cincinnati, OH) did on Friday when he became the ninth member of Florida’s 2015 recruiting class by committing to the program during a ceremony at his high school.
“I definitely got a big reaction,” Brown told OnlyGators.com on Saturday. “A lot of people got in touch with me after the ceremony staying stuff like, ‘You made my mom cry.’ One guy on Twitter tweeted me a picture of his son and said, ‘Since you committed, this is how my son feels,’ and it was a picture of his son doing a Gator Chomp.
“Now people that are thinking about committing to the Gators pretty soon are going to try to one-up me and get a bigger gator.”
Brown (6-foot-6, 264 pounds) is listed as the 13th-best player at his position by Rivals, which also ranks him as the No. 118 overall player in the nation.
Taking a trip to Gainesville, Florida, on Tuesday, he saw campus for the third time and had yet another opportunity to meet with head coach Will Muschamp and offensive line coach Mike Summers. Brown got his questions answered and felt prepared to make the call he has been waiting for his entire life.
“I have a great relationship with some of the players there, especially the younger ones like Duke Dawson and David Sharpe, and a lot of the guys already committed to the program like Jerome Baker, since he’s from Cleveland,” Brown explained.
“You can tell by the people around campus – not even just the coaches – that they actually care about you as a player and student. My dad and I also had a great relationship with Coach Summers because when Coach Summers was at Louisville, he recruited my younger brother, Aaron Brown, who ended up going to Virginia Tech.”
Brown ultimately chose Florida over Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky, but it was the Wildcats that many believed to be his leader throughout the process.
The Gators are looking to load up on pledges this weekend after losing two commitments last week. Brown, though not an attendee this year at Florida’s annual Friday Night Lights camp at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, may well get the ball rolling for UF.
Brown is the second prospect from the state of Ohio to commit to Florida in July, following in the footsteps of Baker, a four-star linebacker from Cleveland, Ohio, who made his decision on July 11.
He and Baker have gotten especially close during the recruiting process despite being aware of each other before. The two have formed a “pretty good relationship,” Brown said, which should make playing so far away from home easier for both Buckeye State products.