AJC Super 11 tailback Mack Brown said he’s sticking with Florida “at this moment” but also said that he’s surprised and hurt by the unexpected news that coach Urban Meyer is stepping down.
“Everybody’s shocked right now,” Brown said shortly after hearing the news Saturday night. “I know I’m in shock.”
Brown, a senior at Martin Luther King High School, chose the Gators over Georgia before the season started. I asked him shortly after the news broke if it affected his decision.
“Not at this moment,” he said in a text message. “It just hurts right now ’cause I have a strong relationship with Coach Meyer. He recruited me. But at this moment I’m still a Gator.”
A little later I spoke to Brown by phone and he told me how he heard about it.
“Me and a friend were fixing to come in and watch some bowl games when my coach (Corey Jarvis) called,” Brown said. “He said the were saying on ESPN that Coach Meyer was resigning. We went in and turned on the TV and, sure enough, that’s what it said. Then I called Coach Carter.”
‘Coach Carter’ is Florida running backs coach Kenny Carter, Brown’s primary recruiter.
“He told me to stay cool, think positive and stick with Florida right now,” Brown said. “I’m still a Gator and going to stay a Gator until I meet the new coaching staff.”
Meyer, citing health issues, tendered his resignation Saturday night.
“I have given my heart and soul to coaching college football and mentoring young men for the last 24-plus years and I have dedicated most of my waking moments the last five years to the Gator football program,” Meyer said in a statement. “I have ignored my health for years, but recent developments have forced me to reevaluate my priorities of faith and family. After consulting with my family, Dr. Machen, Jeremy Foley and my doctors, I believe it is in my best interest to step aside and focus on my health and family.”
There were indications something might be amiss. The night Florida lost to Alabama in the SEC championship game in Atlanta, Meyer checked into a hospital the next morning for what Florida officials said was a dehydration issue. But there were also reports he had experienced chest pains.
In addition, Meyer has had to replace his offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator, respectively, the last two seasons. He also had to deal with several player-discipline issues and was fined by the SEC office for talking about game officials.
Defensive end Neiron Ball of Jackson also is committed to Florida but could not immediately be reached for comment. His coach, Mike Parris, said he’d talked to Ball but that the player was “going to let me know” if Meyer’s resignation would affect his decision.
Meyer, 45, led the Gators to national titles in two of the last four seasons. He is 56-10 in five seasons at Florida heading into the Sugar Bowl, in which he will coach.