Here’s guessing that Stan Drayton won’t win any popularity contests in the state of Florida today.
Word leaked out Tuesday night that Ohio State had hired Drayton — UF’s running backs coach and recruiting coordinator — as the Buckeyes’ new receivers coach.
Florida, however, put out a release yesterday saying that Will Muschamp’s staff was intact “at this time.” The inclusion of those last three words made it pretty clear to most learned fans that:
1. Drayton had already accepted the OSU job.
2. Drayton wouldn’t start in Columbus right away.
3. Florida didn’t want word to leak out to recruits that the man heading up their recruitment was leaving.
Well today, Ohio State officially announced the hiring of Drayton effective February 1st.
“Stan Drayton first and foremost is a fine person and family man,” Jim Tressel said in a press release. “He is a Buckeye born and bred, and will add a tremendous dimension to our football family. We are fortunate to gain one of the finest coaches in America to serve our kids, school and community.”
Hear that? It’s the sound of thousands of Gator fans all grabbing for vomit bags at once. Here’s the link to the story in The Columbus Dispatch (a company I used to work for, by the way).
Drayton has left Gainesville before. He departed after the 2007 season only to return last year. The fact that Urban Meyer would welcome him back shows what he thought of Drayton’s recruiting skills — because the two did not always see eye-to-eye in terms of running backs.
The loss of Drayton, therefore, will likely hurt the Gators more on the recruiting front than on the coaching front. Muschamp has put together a staff of NFL veterans. Having a proven Deep South recruiter on the staff was a plus. Expect him to find one when he replaces Drayton.
But if Drayton was going to depart… this season might be the best time for it. Due to the head coaching change, the Gators were going to take a slight hit on signing day anyway. So if your recruiting coordinator is going to leave days before signing day — which is never a good thing — better he do it in the midst of a pretty good recruiting year than in the middle of a stellar recruiting year.
That said, Drayton is still Public Enemy #1 on Florida talkshows and messageboards today. Especially since the Gators and Buckeyes are both currently chasing West Palm Beach linebacker Curt Maggitt.