ESPN’s coverage of Gators’ 2010 recruiting class

By Adam Silverstein
February 3, 2010

Five-star defensive end Ronald Powell on ESPNU’s College Football Recruiting Insider:

Head coach Urban Meyer on ESPNU’s College Football Recruiting Insider:

On ranking his class: “I don’t rate it as a class yet, I think that’s down the road – three or four years. But there’s certain elements of this class: size and the defensive line. It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen with Ron Powell, Lynden Trail, Leon Orr, Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd. Not just great players, but great people. A good work ethic, good leadership qualities. There are certain areas that I like better than others, but I think our defensive front [is one of them]. That’s where college football is played and that’s where you start on defense.”

On who excites him the most: “We got a tailback named Mack Brown – probably the highest-rated tailback we’ve signed here at Florida, in our tenure here. It’s a guy that we needed, a guy that we had to have. He made a commitment. Nowadays, when you make a commitment, at least you know you’re in the top four. He made a commitment to Florida – didn’t take another trip. Really classy family. Hardworker. Has battled some injuries too, but we’re counting on him to be a big-time playmaker sooner than later for us.”

ESPN had 11 more questions for Meyer. Read them all after the jump!

On his health: “I’m doing fine. I’m very thankful to our administration and everybody else. But I’m doing fine. I am going to step away starting tomorrow. Other than that, I’m not quite sure what’s going to take place, other than I will be coaching the Gators next year?”

So you will be with them at the start of next football season, is that correct? “Yes, I will.”

On the toll that personally recruiting players takes on him: “With recruiting, I’m one of those guys that love it. Especially a guy like Josh Shaw. I’m into good guys, I’m into good people. Venus, his mother, is a great lady, and I’ve just been very close with that whole family. Josh Shaw is that kind of personality. If I’m not involved with five, six, seven, ten recruiting calls a night, I’m always asking our recruiting staff, ‘What’s going on here? I need to talk to kids.’ When you drive home from work, if you’re not making those two-to-three calls and talking to players, I feel like you’re not doing your job. It’s much easier to recruit the kind of kids you really like to be around, like a Josh Shaw. That’s our lifeblood. Our offense looks a lot better when we have good players. Our defense plays real well when we have good players. And we know that, and I know that. I enjoy that.”

On knowing his new recruits have his back: “This is one of the closest groups. That is a great question. Nowadays, great recruiting classes are put together…in my mind… First you have to have a great product to sell – which we do – but there’s a lot of great products out there. Our greatest product is our players currently on our team. The way they sell this place. They enjoy playing, they love going to school at Florida. A lot of these contacts are made with these recruits through summer, and it just shows you how close… I’ve known Matt Elam forever. I think they legitimately care. I don’t think, I know. I got a lot of phone calls from guys. Ron Powell and I are very close. He would call and ask, ‘How you doing?’ The legitimate care between our coaching staff and these players [make it] one of the most unique groups of recruits I’ve ever had.”

Head coach Urban Meyer was interviewed on ESPN’s Sportscenter:

On the biggest challenge in securing the class: “The challenge, believe it or not, was this group was real close. I think – a lot like the ’06 class we recruited with [Brandon] Spikes and [Tim] Tebow and Percy [Harvin] and those guys – they started talking and developing a relationship. Ron Powell, Trey Burton and Lynden Trail and a lot of these kids became friends throughout the process. When they would come on their official visits, they talk on the time, they know each other. The class stuck together pretty much through… We had four coaches leave our program [because of] great opportunities out there, so we went through a coaching transition. We went through some other issues. This class is probably the closest class we’ve ever had as far as these guys all know each other.”

On Powell: “Ron Powell is one of the best football players I’ve ever seen. We had him in camp, so we got to work with him hands-on. He can play a multitude of positions. He could be a great tight end, and we’re going to use him at tight end a little bit. But he’s going to be used primarily as a defensive end. The pass-rushing specialist, the guy that can come off the edge that is so essential in the SEC. On top of that, he’s a very Christian man and a good person.”

On what will make Tim Tebow a successful NFL quarterback: “A successful team. These quarterbacks get stuck on teams that aren’t very good and all of a sudden it’s the quarterback’s fault. I think [Mark] Sanchez – I don’t’ know him – but I think he’s a terrific quarterback. He got stuck on a team that plays great defense, great special teams, and [is] very well-coached and all of a sudden he’s playing in the playoffs. I hope Tim goes to a team like that, that’s a very good team. If he gets stuck on a poor team, that’s a reflection on the quarterback, unfortunately. I think Tim’s going to be a great NFL quarterback. I’m very biased because I love Tim. I just think the intangibles are overwhelming. He’ll find a way to win a game that most people will not. He’ll have a very successful career.”

On if he is surprised about the criticism surrounding Tebow: “Oh, no. That’s the society we live in right now. Tim and I talk still all the time. I saw it his senior year in college. I saw it his junior year in college a little bit. Sophomore year he was kind of the “chosen one,” and everybody was kind of jumping on his bandwagon. I’ve never seen a player get criticized for everything. He’s got very strong beliefs, a very strong personality. Obviously a great player. There’s flaws in everybody. If his throwing motion is a little too long for someone, then maybe his intangibles will overcome that. His character, his competitiveness, his intelligence – to me is off the charts. And I think he throws a great football. He’s the No. 2 quarterback in the history of the game in passing efficiency – No. 1 in America this year. I don’t think the job description is that different in the SEC than the NFL. I hope he gets a chance with a good team.”

On how his health is right now: “I’m doing good, thanks for asking.”

On gaining weight: “It’s fluctuating a little bit. But I’m going to step away starting tomorrow [to] take care of myself. Our team’s in good hands, and we’ll be ready to go.”

On if his decision to coach spring practice on March 17 has changed: “No, that hasn’t changed.”

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