Dan Mullen on beating Alabama, Georgia for recruits: You've got to have good players to win championships
Dan Mullen and Florida had an excellent close to the 2019 recruiting cycle when the Gators landed the signatures of two elite prospects on National Signing Day. The only thing that made those additions better was the fact Florida kept the players away from Georgia and Alabama.
If you missed it on Wednesday, four-star linebacker Khris Bogle and four-star defensive back Kaiir Elam both pledged to the Gators. Bogle had previously been committed to Alabama while Georgia went all-in on Elam heading into National Signing Day.
Those additions could prove to be invaluable to Florida as soon as next season as the Gators may have plenty of star power on defense but currently lack much depth on the defensive side of the ball. With two more All-Americans signed and ready to arrive on campus over the summer, Florida could be getting production from each player next fall.
During his National Signing Day press conference, Mullen has asked just how significant it was for the Gators to beat out Alabama and Georgia for these players.
“Well, I think what we’re trying to build. As I said we are here to build and bring back a program that competes regularly for championships and you’ve got to have good players to do that,” Mullen answered. “If you go back and you look at the championships in the mid-2000s here, there were an awful lot of talent on those rosters. So recruiting is a major part of it.
“Developing, coaching, all of that is a big part of it. But also having the talent and a lot of that comes into recruiting. So I think that’s huge for the program and it just shows the direction that we’re headed as a program.”
Those are areas Mullen is very familiar with, as he was, of course, the offensive coordinator during Florida’s most recent championship runs and while he was the head coach at Mississippi State, his programs routinely featured some of the best development in the SEC.
Having spent time in both Starkville and Gainesville, Mullen clearly understands the key to winning big consistently in the SEC — talent. Beating Alabama and Georgia on the recruiting trail to close out 2019 is important but it’s only the start of what needs to happen if the Gators are going to once again compete for national titles.
“I think the commitment our staff makes at recruiting, the quality of coaches that we have that are able to recruit, we spend a majority of today meeting and watching and recruiting in the 2020 class already and preparing for this time next year,” Mullen continued. “So I think that’s huge for us and those are, right now those are the teams that played for the SEC championship this year and that’s the level we want to be on. So being able to win those recruiting battles is going to help to hopefully beat them on the field as well.”