Bill Belichick on why so many Gators wind up on his roster
If you take a glance at the Patriots’ roster, you might notice an abundance of former Florida Gators.
And it’s no coincidence.
Coach Bill Belichick – in town for this week’s joint practices with the Bucs and Friday night’s preseason game – said today he has been uniquely positioned to learn helpful information about UF players through his relationships with former coach Urban Meyer and current coach Will Muschamp.
“The University of Florida has great athletes and great players at their school, as do the other Florida schools,” Belichick said. “I had a good relationship with Coach Meyer, as I do with Coach Muschamp. Maybe I had a little bit more insight or opportunity to evaluate. And we felt like those particular players that we drafted fit our system and what we were doing.”
The Patriots have four young former Gators: linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, running back Jeff Demps, tight end Aaron Hernandez and linebacker Brandon Spikes. Veterans Jabar Gaffney and Gerard Warren also are on the roster, but they pre-date Meyer’s stint at UF.
Belichick got plenty of face time with those players when Meyer once had him speak at a clinic. And Belichick has been a regular on campus, attending several pre-draft pro days in Gainesville.
The insight paid of in a big way when the Patriots used that inside knowledge to draft Hernandez in the fourth round in 2010.
"Some of (the success with UF players) was maybe a little more homework on a player like Hernandez, who, talent-wise should’ve been drafted a little higher than he was," Belichick said.