Dan Mullen brings popular former Gator back into football program

Florida football-Florida Gators-Vernell Brown Jr.-Dan Mullen-hired

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Former Florida DB Vernell Brown Jr. hired by Gators

Former Florida defensive back Vernell Brown Jr. is back with the Gators, announcing on social media Monday that he has been hired by coach Dan Mullen as a director of player development.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to return to The Swamp to assist in teaching this generation of athletes what it means to be a Florida Gator both on and off the field,” he posted in a tweet.

Brown started out as a wide receiver for Florida before moving to defense, where he tallied 3 interceptions, 3.5 tackles for loss and 41 total tackles as a senior in 2005.

That was the first season for then-head coach Urban Meyer and Mullen, the Gators’ offensive coordinator at the time.

Brown also returned 59 punts for 489 yards over his four years with the Gators.

A local product, Brown was a star quarterback at Gainesville High School when he committed to former coach Steve Spurrier. Read more about Brown’s background with the Gators here.

Mullen talked in his introductory news conference in late November about his interest in bringing former Gators back into the fold.

“That’s critical to our success. There’s nobody that knows the standards and expectations of Florida football [better] than the former players. You’re talking about guys that have sacrificed four to five years, that completely committed themselves to excellence on that field, that took pride in wearing that helmet and wearing that jersey,” he said at the time. “I know we have an unbelievably passionate fan base, but I’m going to tell you, those guys that have done it, that have been here, that have put this program where it is, those guys, you know, are even more passionate about it and they understand it.

“So, it’s critical to have them around, have them around our players and have them there to lean on for advice, but also to have them around to make sure that our players understand what the standard of expectations are here at the University of Florida.

Last week during a Q&A session with fans, Mullen also said he’d eventually love to get former QB Tim Tebow “back in the program in whatever role he would want to come in.”

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In other Florida football news

  • SEC Country continued its early position-by-position breakdown for the 2018 Gators, focusing on a wide receiver corps that has been bolstered with both depth and high-upside talent over the last couple months. There are several breakout candidates who could thrive in the Gators’ new spread offense.
  • Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and defensive line coach Sal Sunseri are scheduled to meet with the local media for the first time Tuesday. Check back on SEC Country for news and reports from their comments.

Recruiting roundup

In basketball news

  • Updating the ongoing uncertainty surrounding rehabbing Florida center John Egbunu, the Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway tweeted that Egbunu will indeed continue to attempt a return this season. He tore his ACL last Feb. 14 and was at one point projected back in late January, but he has continued to deal with swelling in his knee after attempting non-contact practice drills. Gators coach Mike White meets with reporters Tuesday and will be asked about the matter then.
  • The latest “bracketology” projections from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi have the Gators opening the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed in San Diego (against No. 13 East Tennessee State). Florida (17-8 overall, 8-4 SEC) next plays on Wednesday at 9 p.m., hosting Georgia.

What they’re saying on Twitter

  • Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin is in the Winter Olympics spirit:

  • College football reporter Barrett Sallee reflected back on the SEC’s coaching hires now that National Signing Day has passed:

  • Former Gators tight end Jake McGee reveals his fresh Florida master’s degree:

  • There will be a gift awaiting the first 500 fans at Florida’s baseball season opener Friday:

  • Tebow has a new jersey number for New York Mets spring training:

Miss a previous edition of Good Morning, Gators? Get caught up here.

The post Dan Mullen brings popular former Gator back into football program appeared first on SEC Country.

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