The Florida Gators will hire North Carolina tight ends coach Tim Brewster at the same position, according to multiple reports, bringing on an old foe with a familiar reputation.
Football Scoop’s Doug Samuels, 247Sports writers for the network’s North Carolina and Florida sites, and Fox Sports writer Bruce Feldman are all reporting that Brewster will leave Chapel Hill for Gainesville, making this a report with three confirmations that is likely just waiting on a Florida announcement to become official.
And in Brewster, the Gators would be getting a coach who is a veteran of the highest levels of recruiting in the Southeast.
The persistent criticism of Dan Mullen’s staffs over the first two years of his tenure has been nitpicking about a relative dearth of top-flight recruiters who could win battles for some of the nation’s absolute best prospects. Brewster, who would replace respected recruiter Larry Scott, would seem well-equipped to be such a recruiter for Florida, seeing as his historical list of commits is longer than his arm.
Brewster has almost 20 years of experience as a tight ends coach, having served in that position for six different college and NFL teams since 1989. He also spent four years as Minnesota’s head coach and a year at Mississippi State under Mullen as a wide receivers coach.
But he will be most familiar to Florida fans from a five-year tenure at Florida State that was largely spent pulling blue-chip recruits — and sometimes pulling the rug out from Florida in the process. Brewster was responsible for much of the Seminoles’ success in South Florida under Jimbo Fisher, and notoriously engineered Dalvin Cook’s flip from the Gators to the Seminoles in 2014.
Brewster ranked No. 7 in 247Sports’ Recruiter Rankings for that 2014 cycle, which included Florida flips Cook and Ermon Lane, then ranked No. 10 in 2016 partly because of four-star tight end Naseir Upshur and three-star defensive end Emmett Rice — whom Brewster nabbed despite Florida employing Randy Shannon, an alum of Rice’s high school, at the time. And Mullen saw Brewster’s work up close for the 2013 cycle, as he helped the Bulldogs land Fred Ross and the late De’Runnya Wilson in that class.
Brewster was also responsible for the development of 2014 Mackey Award winner Nick O’Leary while he was at Florida State, and coached 2018 consensus All-American Jace Sternburger in his one year at Texas A&M.
In short, Brewster is just about as good a recruiter as Florida could have hired as its tight ends coach, and just about as good a tight ends coach as it could have hired while looking for an elite recruiter.
The downsides of Brewster — if there are any real ones — are his Twitter “game,” which amounts to being the loudest and most obnoxious possible fan for the program currently signing his paychecks, something that got him chided by none other than Jalen Ramsey in one instance and has made him a villain for other teams’ fans, and the well-traveled suspicion that his deep familiarity with how to successfully recruit includes knowledge of how to work outside the rules.
Florida fans who loathed Brewster merely for being successful and loud about it for a half-decade might laugh at his first tweets proclaiming that there’s no other name so glorious, but the Gators who questioned Brewster’s rep as a recruiter may be scratching their heads, perplexed that Florida would risk hiring someone considered a possible cheater given the athletic department’s pride in staying clean since the crushing NCAA penalties of the late 1980s. Mullen getting Brewster on staff might be seen by some as a bridge too far.
But if you’re of the somewhat more savvy opinion that college football is a broken industry in which basically everyone is cheating at all times, you might prefer Brewster to be in your corner rather than someone else’s.
Brewster’s hiring is liable to be announced in conjunction with any of the responsibility changes that Mullen hinted at in Wednesday’s press conference — Brewster would seem to be a very strong candidate to relieve Greg Knox of his title as recruiting coordinator — and thus could be delayed by a day or two, or announced in tandem with any additions to Florida’s support staff, which was reportedly adding Charlie Strong and Kerwin Bell as of last week.