Dan Mullen has not only changed the Florida football program on the field, he has given it a face-lift on the recruiting trail.
The 2017 Florida football season was nothing short of a disaster. The Gators won just four games and head coach Jim McElwain was relieved of his duties following an embarrassing loss to Georgia in Jacksonville.
Needless to say, the Gators were not in good shape on or off the field. Even when Dan Mullen was hired at the end of the 2017 season, some Florida fans did not like it because his name was not Chip Kelly or Scott Frost.
But in the two football seasons since his arrival back in Gainesville, Mullen has won 21 games including back-to-back wins in New Year’s Six bowl games.
The hiring of Mullen doesn’t just appear to be a home run hire, it appears to be a grand slam and not just for what is happening on Saturday afternoons.
Most college football fans realize that any successful coach has to not only be good at game planning for an opponent, but also needs to be able to recruit the prospects who can get the program over the top.
There is no question that Mullen can coach on game day, but he is also proving that he can recruit with the best of them as well.
For Florida to get back to the national prominence it once enjoyed, the Gators have to beat their rivals on the field and on the recruiting trail.
During the years of Will Muschamp and certainly the years of Jim McElwain, the Gators were getting beat out for a lot of the top talent. Florida wasn’t winning recruiting battles with Alabama, Georgia, Florida State and many others. It was something that had to change and Mullen is indeed changing it.
Just take a look at the past two years on the recruiting trail as a prime example.
2019: Florida was in a head-to-head battle with Georgia for four-star defensive back Kaiir Elam. Florida won that battle and Elam is already contributing on the field as a true freshman.
2019: Florida was able to flip four-star defensive end Khris Bogle away from Alabama on signing day and Bogle has already seen time on the field as a true freshman.
2020: Florida got a commitment from four-star offensive lineman Joshua Braun who had been committed to Georgia for six months prior to flipping to the Gators on December 11, 2019.
2020: Florida lands four-star wide receiver Xzavier Henderson who chose the Gators over Clemson.
These are just four examples of how Mullen is changing the recruiting game at the University of Florida. In years past before Mullen, it is doubtful Florida would have landed any of these prospects which is a testament to what Mullen and his coaching staff are doing out on the recruiting trail.
Another interesting thing to think about is all four of the above prospects are from the state of Florida, so Mullen and the Gators are starting to keep some of the premier talent in the Sunshine State at home.
Is Florida where it would like to be when it comes to recruiting, probably not as the Gators currently sit 7th according to 247sports.com, but Florida is much more back in the fold when it comes to recruiting then they have been in the past five or so years.
Dan Mullen has established a winning culture on the field and if he can establish that same culture on the recruiting trail, the rest of the SEC better watch out.
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreen1010XL)