TAMPA — Some of the nation’s top high school recruits will converge on Gainesville on Friday for UF’s popular Friday Night Lights camp, where elite prospects practice under the bright spotlights of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Tampa Catholic senior fullback/linebacker Hunter Joyer goes to UF for the first time since committing to the Gators last month. Before he made the trek up I-75, Joyer took some time to talk about the recruiting process, his senior season and campaigning for the Gators.
Friday Night Lights is one of the biggest camps in the South. How excited are you to go up there this weekend?
I’m just really excited to be able to go up there and work with my position coach and have some one-on-one time with him and see how it’s going to be playing under the lights on the field there. There’s going to be a lot of people there, and I’m going to be competing with some of the top athletes. I’m excited to see that kind of atmosphere.
You committed to Florida a little more than a month ago. Now that you’ve decided where you’re going to college, has it gotten quieter in the Joyer household?
Most of the schools have let me be. I really haven’t talked to any schools over the phone or anything. The difference is now I get a lot of interviews on radio shows or with other Gator people, but that’s all good.
Do you feel more at ease now that everything is done?
Yeah, it cleared a lot of space out of my mind. It’s a lot more calm, knowing what I have to do now and just working on that stuff.
Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez has made it pretty clear that you’ll get a lot more carries this year. It seems like you’re going a bit back to your Wesley Chapel days (Joyer ran for 1,630 yards and 25 touchdowns in two seasons at Wesley Chapel). How excited are you about that?
I don’t think anybody would have a problem with getting the ball more. I’ll just do what …I’m told.
Without TC players like Christian Green, Chaz Green and Hank McCloud gone, do you think this season will feel a little different?
Yeah, the personnel is going to be totally different, so I guess we’re going to be a different team. I think we’re going to do stuff that maybe we haven’t done before.
At what point did you know that you were going to Florida?
I guess it was after the camp (in June). I was with all the coaches there and they were all great guys and I saw some of the recruits who were coming in. It just felt like the place I wanted to be. When I went up there, I saw all I needed to see.
Now that you’ve committed to Florida, have you been doing any recruiting on behalf of the Gators?
I try to as much as I can when I get the chance. I’ll say a little something, just to keep Florida on their mind. I don’t want to go too far and bug them about it, but I try. I was on Facebook and I saw James (Wilder Jr. of Plant) was on there and I just sent him a message saying ‘It’s great to be a Florida Gator’ and logged off.