Florida coach Dan Mullen showed off some news shoes at SEC Media Days Monday, but apparently not everyone was impressed.
Mullen wore custom retro DM 11 Jordans — an expression of the Gators’ partnership with Jordan Brand, the apparel company made famous by former NBA great Michael Jordan. The fashion statement of combining sneakers with the customary suit each coach wears to meet reporters is a tradition Mullen’s maintained for years.
“For me as a head coach, it’s always important to be able to relate to players and where they are in the world today,” Mullen told the Tampa Bay Times last year. “What’s new? What’s trendy? What’s happening? That’s one way to do it.”
Sneaker collecting is a popular hobby among many players, and undoubtedly some of them probably like the fact Mullen takes the effort to understand their passion. However, at least one top-rated recruit questioned Mullen’s taste.
That’s the subject of this edition of DN90.
4-star defensive back Avantae Williams — an Oregon commit — used some colorful language on Twitter to describe his aversion to Mullen’s fashion choice.
At first glance, this might seem like little more than a difference of style opinions. However, this particular shoe critic also represents one of the more contested recruitments for the class of 2020 — a battle that apparently includes Mullen’s Gators and Georgia.
In fact, The Oregonian recently questioned whether Williams — who lives in Deland Fla. — should still be considered a commitment to the Ducks.
Williams has reportedly taken visits to both Florida and UGA within the last few months, and recently touted his affection for Miami as well.
Williams distaste for Mullen’s shoes shouldn’t be taken to mean he’ll exclude Florida from his eventual college decision, but don’t expect the Bulldogs to slow down their pursuit of him any time soon either.
DawgNation’s recruiting insider Jeff Sentell has explained that UGA is likely looking to sign three or four defensive backs to this year’s class. 4-star prospect Jalen Kimber already accounts for one of those spots. Many fans hope 5-star cornerback Kelee Ringo — who named UGA as a finalist June 27 — becomes another. That leaves room for the possibility of Williams flipping, or perhaps 4-star safety Chris Thompson Jr. spurning strong interest from Texas to pledge to the Bulldogs.
Either way, Williams’ recruitment is likely a long way from over. And as UGA makes its pitch to Williams, don’t expect Georgia coach Kirby Smart to try to impress him with any sneakers.
For more on Williams, including what he said about Mullen’s shoes, click the video linked above.