The University of Florida is celebrating a robust signing day on Wednesday.
A little more than two months into the job, Mullen bounced with energy from his press conference to the team’s indoor practice facility to speak to a group of more than 500 fans.
His excitement spilled into the crowd.
“I don’t expect an empty seat for the spring game,” he said.
Regardless of the final verdict on this class, Mullen has re-energized a program that needed a double shot of espresso. They got another dose Wednesday when Jacob Copeland, considered one of the state’s top receivers, announced on national television his plans to come to UF.
His mother, seated next to him wearing a Tennessee beanie and Alabama sweatshirt, walked away when he announced his intentions. You had to feel for Copeland, his shining moment awkwardly tainted. Fortunately, cameras showed he and his mom embraced shortly thereafter, and within the hour, his NLI had arrived at UF. (SEE VIDEO BELOW).
Drama is part of what makes National Signing Day one of the most special and cringe-worthy days on the American sports calendar.
“I think he’s had a lot of stress put on him, a lot of people trying to pull him in different directions, and you know, the one thing I always told him is just say, ‘hey, you’ve got to block that out. You’ve got to see and know what’s best for you and your future,’ ” Mullen said. “When he sat down and he did a lot of soul searching and a lot of praying, and he found that he knew in his heart this is where he belonged, that’s what you want out of this process.”
The Gators got some of what they wanted out of the process Wednesday. Mullen wants more. He knows the Gators need it to get where he wants to take them.
“I have really high expectations for the program,” he said. “Hopefully we continue to grow and continue to build, and every year we have a better signing class than we had the year before.”
The last time the Gators had a coaching change in 2015, those same three major recruiting services ranked their recruiting class 23rd, 21st and 20th.
They are making progress.