GatorZone.com Senior Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The UF football team inherited by new coach Will Muschamp features a lot of young talent, perhaps none more than at defensive tackle where Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd played significantly as true freshmen last season.
They now have one of the best defensive tackles in recent NFL history as their position coach: former San Francisco 49ers All-Pro Bryant Young.
Muschamp finalized his inaugural coaching staff on Saturday by announcing that Young, who spent last season as defensive line coach at San Jose State, is joining the Gators. Young will coach the defensive line along with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who coached Young as a San Francisco assistant for four seasons from 2001-04.
“Bryant is a great addition to our coaching staff,” said Muschamp. “We want to be a program built on toughness – both physically and mentally, and there are not too many people tougher than Bryant. He was a leader, blue-collar player and a winner.
“He will demand his players to have the same attributes.”
Young will also be reunited with new Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. After retiring in 2007 following 14 seasons with the 49ers, Young began his coaching career as a defensive graduate assistant at Notre Dame in 2009. Young was a four-year letterwinner for the Fighting Irish from 1990-93.
He instantly made an impression on Weis and the Notre Dame players in his first foray into coaching.
“I wanted to try coaching. This was my way in,’’ he told the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune in October 2009. “And I'll tell you what, I've got the bug. I really didn't know what to expect, but it's so rewarding. It's not a job, it's a passion. I've been bitten.”
During his time as a player, Notre Dame went 40-8-1 with Young earning first-team All-American honors as a senior team captain.
He was the seventh overall pick in the 1994 draft and spent the next 14 seasons as one of the NFL’s top defensive linemen. He started 208 games for San Francisco – second only to Jerry Rice (224) in 49ers history – earning four Pro Bowl selections (1996, 1999, 2001 and 2002).
He helped San Francisco win a Super Bowl in his rookie season and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1990s. Young also earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1999 after recording 11 sacks following a season-ending leg injury the prior season.
Young, 38, also was active in the San Francisco Bay Area community, earning the 49ers’ Len Eshmont award eight times. The award is given to the player who best exemplifies courage and leadership.
A likely Hall of Fame inductee in a few years, Young’s successful NFL career should help on the recruiting front. When he joined Weis’ staff at Notre Dame in 2009, that aspect was pointed out by CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.
“Even if you take away what he is doing on the field, and it's significant, just in recruiting alone, he is making a big impact,’’ Lemming told the South Bend Tribune. “When players come in for a visit, they take to his easy-going personality. They take to his NFL résumé.’’
Young joins Weis, Quinn, Aubrey Hill (receivers), Travaris Robinson (defensive backs), and Frank Verducci (offensive line/running game coordinator) as newcomers to the Gators’ staff under Muschamp.
Stan Drayton (running backs, recruiting coordinator), D.J. Durkin (linebackers/special teams coordinator), Brian White (tight ends) and Mickey Marotti (strength and conditioning) were retained from Urban Meyer’s staff.