This is probably a good time for Gator fans to look away from the ever-bleaker Aaron Hernandez news and latch their eyes onto something a little more aesthetically pleasing.
So from the news of Florida past to the news of Florida future, I present to you the first verbal commitment of the 2016 high school class, Tyler Byrd. Byrd is a rising sophomore at Naples High School, and he accepted Florida’s offer after attending a Will Muschamp football camp last week.
He told the Naples News that Florida has always been his favorite team and that defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin had been talking with him since the spring.
“Coach Durkin is recruiting me, so I called him, and he put me on the phone with Muschamp,” Byrd said. “They were excited when I told them.”
Byrd still has three years to play, grow and change his mind, however, and this is far from a done deal. But Byrd says things likely won’t change in his mind.
“Florida was my childhood favorite team,” he said. “So I grew up watching them all the time. Then I went up there, and the campus was really nice and so were the coaches. I just knew that once I got an opportunity to play for the Gators, I didn’t need to waste my time.”
He did leave himself a little wiggle room.
“I mean, I might see a few other schools,” Byrd said, “but Florida is the school I grew up liking and that’s where I want to go.”
Byrd’s commitment is not only the first of the 2016 class, but his is also the first of any rising sophomores or juniors. The Gators don’t have a 2015 commit as of yet.
Nonetheless, Gator fans are probably taking refuge in some real football news about now.
Byrd, 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, totaled 451 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his freshman season. His position is currently listed as an athlete.