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A Recruiting Moment: Valdosta’s Dexter Daniels Heads South To Florida

A Recruiting Moment takes a look back in time to a moment in recruiting news where both Florida and their opponent of the week – Georgia this time around – were major players.

Dexter Daniels is one of those former Gators that can be easily forgotten because of the time period in which he suited up for Florida. From 1992 until 1995, Daniels was a key member of some great teams that were filled with stars. When Daniels left Florida, he had been an All-SEC First-Team selection and been on the roster for three SEC Championships. Unfortunately, being one year short of the school’s first national title and having a brief NFL career can make a player like Daniels difficult to place for some fans. Hopefully, stories like this will keep his legacy alive.

"They all say a Georgia boy needs to go to Georgia. Well that’s not true. Not really. Not for me."

That was what Daniels had to say on February 4, 1992 when he announced his intentions to leave his home state and head south to Florida. The star linebacker and USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year from Valdosta was said to have always had the Gators at the top of his list, but the Bulldogs would make a hard push late for his services. Daniels believed Florida was the place for him, but Georgia wouldn’t give up and almost made him rethink his decision. In the end, he would become a Gator and experience much of the same success in college as he did in high school.

These days, pulling a recruit out of Georgia or any number of other states wouldn’t be much of a surprise. When Daniels committed, he became the 23rd member of Florida’s class and – removing incoming transfers from the equation – only the second from out of state. Despite the linebacker favoring the Gators for much of the process, pulling him out of his home state was far from easy. In fact, despite expressing his feelings during his recruitment, many found it hard to believe he would not actually become a Dawg. But…

"I just think Florida’s football program is better than Georgia for me. It’s a good opportunity to play sooner. It’s the better choice."

When Daniels chose the Gators, he joined a class full of talent. Among his classmates were Bart Edmiston, Eric Kresser, Danny Wuerffel, Jason Odom, Donnie Young, Shea Showers, Jeff Mitchell, James Bates, Johnnie Church and Anthone Lott. It’s easy to see how Florida had so much success in the 1990s.

I left out the link to the article those quotes from Daniels appeared in until the very end for a reason. His last game as a Gator was one to forget as Daniels and Florida fell to Nebraska in a disaster of a game. That Cornhusker team was led by a player we all remember – Tommie Frazier. Go ahead and navigate to page 3C of that particular issue of the Ocala Star-Banner and you’ll find the story of another commitment – that of Frazier himself. On Tuesday, February 4, 1992, Daniels and Frazier would both make their decisions of where they would play their college football. Nearly four years later, the two would be linked again.