Before they report to campus in late June, InsidetheGators.net is contacting the remaining 17 signees from the 2010 signing class to get the very latest on what's going on with them by going over ten questions with each about the recruiting process as well as what they are currently doing to prepare themselves for their future at the University of Florida.
Up today is Tampa (Fla.) Blake three-star tight end Michael McFarland.
InsidetheGators.net: What was your favorite part about the recruiting process and what was the worst?
McFarland: "What I enjoyed the most was the attention. I liked the attention from all the colleges, but I was the most excited when Florida came. I didn't know how to act, I was happy with everything when they came. After they started recruiting me, everything was great. Everything they told me and everything they did was positive.
"I know the recruiting process is really hard for some people. Maybe if I didn't recruit as early as I did, there would be some hardships. But everything worked out okay.
"What was the worst part? At first I was a little bit down when Florida asked me to grey-shirt. I already knew what it was. I had talked about it with my friend before, we heard about someone doing it and we were like, 'dang that sucks for him' because we thought - we want to go to college, lift, play ball and be ready to play. When they [Florida] told me that I had to do it, or at least think about it, I was like 'whoa' but then when he [UF Tampa area recruiter Dan McCarney] told me the reasons for it, the good things that can come out of it, that changed my mind. I was willing to take one for the team. I was willing to do it, but then that's when they came back a week later and told me they wanted me to come in [over the summer]."
InsidetheGators.net: Is there one person you credit for your success thus far in life?
McFarland: "My daddy, Michael William McFarland Sr. My dad's sick, he's in a nursing home now because the cigarettes and stuff caught up with him. Old age caught up with him now, but when I was young, before I went to practice, he would get in the car and roll with me while I was running around the block to make sure I was running. He would make me do four of those laps before practice and then after practice he would take me to a track and have me running around the track and then make me do sprints in the middle of the field. He has always been there for me and he's always with me.
"He's been everything to me and always did everything he could for me. He's the one that molded me. He taught me to throw the ball. He taught me how to run with my knees up. I believe he set the base. He made the nucleus."
InsidetheGators.net: What do you plan to do between now and reporting to UF?
McFarland: "I've been working on getting stronger and getting faster. I've been building my legs up, building a stronger core. Basically just that type of stuff."
InsidetheGators.net: Have you already received the workout plan from UF? What is it like?
McFarland: "I got it and finished the whole book so now I'm working on my own program until I get up there. It walks you through the different warm ups, calisthenics and cardio exercises. There's things like 10 to 15 minute runs and jumping rope. It's broken down with lower and upper body workouts. You do one on Monday and Thursday and then the other on Tuesday and Friday. You get off on Wednesday and the weekends.
"When I first got it, the core stuff is what got to me. There's stuff like leg lifts, bicycle kicks, elbow bridges and Russian twists - those exercises that build up your core - those are a hassle. Those are hell at first. As I was progressing I could feel myself getting better. I look back on it now and I was a lot weaker than I thought I was. Like last year, I was benching 245-pounds now I'm maxing out at 305."
InsidetheGators.net: Maybe because you play basketball, with your height, it seems like you are a little undersized weight wise for a tight end. Where are you right now and do the UF coaches want you at a certain weight?
McFarland: "They said they just want me to gain as much weight as I can, but the main thing is they said they want me to get stronger. I feel like I've had a huge increase [in strength] since the workouts and when I run, I feel like I'm a stronger runner now. I'm 6'6, 245."
InsidetheGators.net: Several weeks ago you told GBN that you weren't yet cleared for eligibility. Where does that stand right now?
McFarland: "I got my SAT score back and I have to wait and see what the Clearinghouse says after they balance my new score with my classes. I improved my score 140 this time. I had a 820 and now I have a 960. I don't think I'll need to retake this Earth Space Science when they get this new score. I really don't want to have to retake this. I'll do it if I have to, but I really don't want to."
InsidetheGators.net: When it comes to numbers, do you have a preference - if so why - what does wearing that number mean to you?
McFarland: "I want to wear number 10. I don't know, when I was 10 years old, that was an age when a lot of things happened. I don't know, that just feels like the number for me. Plus I was good wearing number-five in high school so I'll be twice as good wearing number 10 (laughing)."
InsidetheGators.net: Do you know at this point who your roommates will be?
McFarland: "I've been talking to Tyler Murphy, Mack Brown and Chaz Green. We've all talked about how we want to room together, but I don't know. I haven't heard about who I'm going to be with when I get there. Tyler said he's talked to coach [Steve] Addazio, so I guess it's going to happen, but I don' know."
InsidetheGators.net: The Gators are basically starting over again at tight end, with no returning players with game experience at the position. What do you see your role being this first year?
McFarland: "I feel like - Michael McFarland feels like he can go in there and play ball. That's it [voice getting louder]. I'm sorry I'm getting aggressive, but I'm excited about it. I feel like I can do things that no one else can do at the position. It's not going to be given to me, I've got to prove it."
InsidetheGators.net: Name something about you that the Gator Nation would find surprising if they were to find out?
McFarland: "They're going to be surprised to find out who I am (laughing). Everyone pays too much attention to the stars and where people go to high school. I'm not a five-star and I didn't go to some super power high school. I might only be three-stars and only went to Blake High School, but know that there's no quit in me. They're thinking I'm just another Average Joe, so what's going to be surprising is when I come in there and fight for a job. I'll fight for a position. If someone else wins, its because they beat me for it straight up. I'm not giving in."
THE McFARLAND FILE
- When asked if there was one game in particular he was looking forward to next year, with the question barely asked, McFarland quickly and emphatically answered, 'USF'. He stated he has many friends who go to USF, but they'll still want him to have a good game.
- He said he also speaks with current lineman Ian Silberman a lot about what it is like to be a freshman football player at Florida.
- During his high school career McFarland lined up at quarterback, tight end, h-back, defensive end, linebacker and punter.