Wednesday February 4, 2009Coach Meyer discusses 2009 signing class
University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer met with members of the media on Wednesday to discuss the 2009 signing class.
It’s a great day for Florida football. We have some real quality young people that are going to join our program. This is really an evaluation friendly business we’re in. It may seem like there are a lot of things in which you have to rely upon faith but really you can evaluate it and really look at all things. What that means is that there is statistical analysis of everything that you do in athletics.
First of all, you qualify and get to campus. That’s something that we look at. When you look at our last four signing classes, one thing that they must see is our ability to get kids on campus. And that is not as easy as most people think. Our coaches do a great job and I want to say we’re at about a 90 percent ratio when it comes to that. When we go out and recruit a young man, with the exception of one or two, our history is to make sure that these guys make it to campus.
Number two, is that they play and contribute and become a member of the team. A member of the team is not someone who wears a hat on the sideline. He’s a guy who steps on the field and makes plays and helps you win games. I know all of this is rather obvious but sometimes it’s not.
Number three is that you win championships with the people that you recruit. Then if they graduate and are blessed enough to move on to the NFL. Those are the five areas of how we judge and evaluate a recruiting class. I am proud to say that there is a group of young men who just left our program that basically hit it right on the dot. As far as graduating they are one hundred percent, they won two National Championships, two SEC Championships. They played 44 games in the last three years, which is the best in America. Several players will be selected in the draft. That is just our evaluation.
I am very proud of our presentation here at Florida. It took a while, but with the help of our administration, and with the help of our support staff, and our assistant coaches, our presentation here at Florida is tremendous. What I mean by that is since we are in such an evaluation friendly business, we evaluate academics. And most people say academics are really important, and at Florida they are very important. Our graduation rates are the highest in the SEC and are the highest they’ve been in awhile. And this past year we had a one hundred percent graduation rate, and that is why our presentation is tremendous.
Our facilities have become elite. They are some of the finest in America. You walk into this facility and you see the All-American bricks and then you see the trophy cases and all of our national awards and most importantly the championship presentation is tremendous. And the third part of our presentation is the development of the players. You walk into our weight room and you know that it maximizes our players production.
We addressed what we look for in a player. We are very proud of the guys that we brought in here. Number one, we look for high character people and then, competitors. We had a little bit of a tough deal because we had 22 players coming back on defense; 22, not 11, not nine, not four. We’ve got our top 22 players coming back. And I have to really take my hat off to some of those young guys who stepped up. The Jelani Jenkins of the world, just a great football player who had many many choices, who’s put on a Florida hat and is going be a Gator. He didn’t ask how many linebackers we had, he just said ‘I want to play.’ Sort of a lot like when Tim Tebow was recruited. I don’t remember him saying ‘How many quarterbacks do you have?’ He didn’t really care. Percy Harvin and Spikes, those guys are a big part of the conversation.
We’ve done a great job recruiting. Our staff has done phenomenal. We had a few obstacles, even when you win a National Championship. However, the ones that we brought in are tremendous. Andre Debose, I don’t want to single any guy out, but he is as good as there is. I think he is the best player in America. Watching him on film, for what we do, for our style of offense, for what we need right now, with the departure of Percy Harvin, that is a critical element, because we are not going to change our offense. We will adapt our offense to our personnel.