The Florida Gators 2022 recruiting class finished as the #16 class in the country. They also signed some preferred walk-on's to add to the depth as well. Alex Gonzalez, a wide receiver from Lehigh Acres, Florida, will be one of the walk-on's on campus next fall.
I was able to sit down with Gonzalez and go a little more in depth with him about why he chose Florida and what he wants to accomplish as a Florida Gator.
Anthony Beck: Alex, so you had a couple of scholarship offers to some smaller division one schools. You also had preferred walk on offers at Florida State, Miami and Minnesota as well as Florida. What is it about Florida that made it the right spot for you?
Alex Gonzalez: Well, I've actually been recruited by Florida for a while now. At the end of my junior year, I went up there for an unofficial visit with Richard Young (Five-Star RB for the 2023 class), who goes to my school. And then they also invited me up for a game when they played FSU, so I was also up there.
And then literally like two weeks before signing day after Miami, Minnesota and FSU gave me a PWO, they had called and asked if I was interested and I definitely was. I always loved the University Of Florida since I was a kid. That was like my dream school. I always wanted to play there. I love Tim Tebow. I love all the players that came out of there and the players from my area also went there. It was just an amazing option for me to go to.
And when I was already up there, I loved the school and the campus and all the things they provided, which I felt like it's a great.
AB: What coach is it that reached out to you that offered you that preferred walk on spot? And what was their message to you?
AG: Coach Sony, he had reached out, their quality control assistant. He had reached out to me and asked me if I was interested. And then also coach Billy Napier had reached out to me, telling me they had evaluated my film. I had passed it off to the recruiting area and they had reached out to me.
And when he was with the Rajun Cajuns, he just said that that program over there, the walk on program was like they were top tier. Like they were going to treat you just like any other player. Like no other player would know that you're not on scholarship.
They would have thought you were a scholarship player just by the way they treated you, the way you practice, everything was the same except at the end of the day, you just had to pay for your schooling. So I felt like that was amazing. They also had told me they put these past four years, ten plus players on scholarship. So I was like, I'm willing to bet on myself and just keep on working and eventually just earn a scholarship spot.
AB: So you said Coach Napier is actually one of the people that reached out to you. What does it mean to have the head coach be somebody that wants you to be there, even if it's not on scholarship right away?
AG: It's a big deal. Like, to have the head coach reach out to me. I know that I would be an important part of their program, and I know they're building their walk on program, and that's, like, a huge part of their success, both at his previous spot and here at the University Of Florida. So I just knew it was going to be a big deal and it stood out to some other schools, and that's why I chose Florida over the other schools that I had.
AB: And you previously mentioned Richard Young. Obviously, he's a high profile kid for his class. Now that you've signed and you've locked everything down, are you trying to put on the recruiting cap and recruit him to Florida with you?
AG: Yeah. It'd be awesome to be able to play with him. He has his eyes set on other schools, too as well. But when I'm up there, I'll definitely mention the University of Florida will be a great fit for him to be able to play ball with me. But at the end of the day, it’s his decision, so I'm gonna let him go down his path and choose what school he thinks is gonna to fit best and develop in the best. So I’m gonna let him choose the option, but I'll definitely be swaying for him to come to the University of Florida.
AB: When are you set to enroll at UF?
AG: Yeah, probably early June. It depends on my graduation date, so it's probably, like, around May 20 is when I graduate. So I'll probably go up there early June or late May, depending.
AB: And what are your goals when you get to Florida for both of your first year, and then also kind of like an overarching career goal for you at Florida.
AG: First year is just to get up there and grind. I don't care if I need to be redshirted or whatever. Like, that's an extra year, I'm definitely open to that. But I just want to get up there, put on size, just build on my strength and all my abilities. And just soak it all into the coaches, all the new players are going to be learning all the new techniques, and I feel like that's going to be huge. That first year is going to give me, like, a huge advantage over everybody else.
AB: And then what kind of career goals do you have at Florida? Obviously, I know you want to be on scholarship at some point, but anything else other than that?
AG: Major career goal is to be able to play in all the big games and be able to have, like, a huge impact and just be able to maybe one day make it to the next level, but I definitely wanna have an impact in the games and be one of those go to guys when you need me on third down or first down, whatever the situation is.
My takeaway from talking to Alex is that he’s a great person who is gonna work hard when he gets on campus. He’s has some lofty goals that includes earning a scholarship and making an impact on the field, and I believe he’s definitely has a chance to achieve all of his goals and be very successful during his time at UF as well as after.
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