In the high-stakes world of college football recruiting, coaches have shown they’ll do whatever it takes to impress and woo blue-chip prospects to come play for them.
Nick Saban sent New Orleans Saints star running back Alvin Kamara 105 hand-written letters in one single day when he was in high school. Jim Harbaugh once slept over at a recruit’s house. Bo Pelini even wrestled a potential target of his.
As ludicrous as these things can be, it’s still cool to see coaches go out of their way to impress teenagers who are probably a third of their age.
The latest to follow the trend is Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen, who quite literally dropped in on one of the country’s top four-star recruits on Tuesday. Mullen arrived by helicopter at West Palm Beach’s Wellington High School to see Mark-Antony Richards, who is rated the 90th-best prospect in the country per 247sports.
Richards told the South Florida Sun Sentinel he was shocked when he saw Mullen walk out of the helicopter. He thought it may have been Saban — who has visited recruits by chopper before — paying him a visit.
“I figured it was something big,” Richards said. “Coach [Tom] Abel wouldn’t call me down for anything else, so I figured it was something big. When I got here, I was just kind of surprised.
“I was looking at the helicopter, I figured it was probably either Nick Saban or somebody, because he’s the only person that did it,” Richards said. “But then I saw who it was and I was kind of like, ‘Whoa.’”
Mullen’s gesture clearly left an impression on Richards, who is considering Florida, Auburn, Miami, Georgia and Penn State. Richards’ older brother, Ahmmon, played wide receiver for the Hurricanes.
Richards would clearly be a great addition to Florida’s 11th-ranked recruiting class. With just a week to go until National Signing Day on Feb. 6, Richards still has a big decision to make.
If you ask me, the most important question to ponder is whether he wants free Jordan’s. Because Mullen is certainly using that as a selling point, and for good reason.