Florida Signee T.J. Slaton Reveals Factors Behind Choosing Gators

    Florida signee T.J. Slaton nearly ended up at both Florida State and Georgia, but there were a few factors that led him to pick the Gators on National Signing Day.

    March 6, 2017

    Florida signee T.J. Slaton nearly ended up at both Florida State and Georgia, but there were a few factors that led him to pick the Gators on National Signing Day. 


    The feeling wasn’t the same. Whenever he visited the University of Georgia, T.J. Slaton didn’t feel at home like he did in Gainesville, which is one reason why the former 5-star prospect ended up signing with Florida on National Signing Day.

    The offensive lineman turned defensive tackle told SEC Country he didn’t like Athens because the vibe wasn’t right, and he simply wasn’t comfortable there.

    Though there were other factors that led the Plantation, Florida native to sign with the Gators instead of the Bulldogs. One of them was the fact his mother wanted to watch her son play collegiate football, and that would be a lot easier if he stayed in state. We all know how important parents are in the recruiting process — specifically mothers.

    But the most intriguing reason Slaton listed as to why he signed with Florida was that an assistant for the Miami Hurricanes told him to do it.

    Before Mike Rumph was coaching cornerbacks for Mark Richt in Coral Gables, he was serving as Slaton’s head coach at American Heritage High School. And when his former lineman sought his advice, knowing the Hurricanes were completely out of the running, he laid it all out and shined a bright light on the Florida staff.

    “He told me Florida would be a better choice [over Georgia],” Slaton said. “He was letting me know that Shannon and Rumph were good coaches.”

    It’s a stretch to say Slaton would have chosen the red and black over the orange and blue had Rumph not nudged him in that direction. The aforementioned factors still existed regardless. But seldom do you hear of a college coach telling a highly touted recruit to sign with an in-state rival.

    It could have been worse for Miami, though.

    Slaton acknowledged many of his relatives are Florida State fans, and had the Seminoles kept their foot on the gas for his commitment, he might have ended up in Tallahassee.

    MORE: College Football Recruiting Rankings – March 5, 2017

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