The Florida Gators have hired former University of Louisiana head coach Billy Napier to replace Dan Mullen at the helm of their football program.
Napier fits the Gators needs. His recruiting prowess is a massive change for a program going from Dan Mullen, whose biggest weakness was recruiting. This is not an unexpected hire, but it is still a good one. Napier has shown that not only does he recruit well, but he also builds the staff to be able to recruit. Napier will be looking to fix a floundering recruiting class, and has a lot of work to do. However, if there is someone who will be able to do it, Napier appears to be that guy.
Napier has been a head coach for the past four years, but before that was an assistant at a lot of the nation’s best programs. After playing quarterback at Furman, with two seasons as the starter, Billy Napier spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Clemson.
He spent a year as the quarterbacks coach at South Carolina State before returning to Clemson as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator for the Tigers where he spent the next three years. Head coach Tommy Bowden was fired and Napier was promoted to quarterbacks coach under interim head coach Dabo Swinney.
Swinney was named full time head coach, with Billy Napier as his quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. After a record setting season in his first year, Clemson’s offense struggled in his second season. Napier was then fired as offensive coordinator.
Billy Napier spent a year as an offensive analyst at Alabama. Billy Napier became the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Colorado State the following season. Napier followed Alabama assistant and future (now past) Florida head coach Jim McElwain.
Napier accepted a job as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida State. However, he only stayed for a month before accepting the position of wide receiver’s coach at Alabama. Napier spent four seasons at Alabama. He was then hired as the offensive coordinator at Arizona State.
Following a season there, Napier became the head coach at the University of Louisiana. In 4 seasons at Louisiana, Napier led the program to a 39-12 record. This includes one conference championship as well as participating in two more, including one this season.
What to Expect Moving Forward
According to reports, Napier expects to coach in the Ragin Cajun’s Sun Belt Championship game before coming to Florida. Billy Napier’s first task as head coach is to build his staff. He potentially has a few key guys in place if he chooses to keep them.
Nick Savage is beloved as a strength and conditioning coach. Florida also has some young position coaches that he could look to retain. He will almost certainly go elsewhere for coordinators and recruiting staff.
Napier has a lot of work to do in terms of recruiting. The current recruiting class is ranked 31st by 247sports and 39th by Rivals. He will have a lot of work to do to turn the class around in a short amount of time. The early period for national signing day is December 15-17. The regular national signing day is February 2.
With how Napier wants to play, he will need an influx of offensive line talent. He will also need to add more to a defense that is losing a lot of talent. There were a lot of players who decommitted under Mullen, and he could possibly flip them back. The transfer portal will also need to be used due to the lack of time to recruit normally.