Emerging sack artist from Miami-Dade hauls in coveted offer from the Gators
Another up-and-coming star in talent-rich South Florida is approaching 15 offers on the recruiting trail, as Francois Nolton reeled in another SEC offer on Monday, this time from the University of Florida.
Nolton, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound defensive end in the 2022 class, recently relocated to Miami Edison after racking up 12.5 sacks as a sophomore at Miami Christian School.
In addition to the Gators, Nolton possesses offers from Alabama, Miami, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Florida State, Penn State and South Carolina among others.
"I was happy because I've been liking Florida and I've been wanting them to offer me since my ninth grade year," Nolton told GatorsTerritory. "They came during the spring, and coach Johnson and the offensive line coach (John Hevesy) were watching me do one-on-ones against my old teammate, Jovens (Janvier), because he was committed there at the time.
"They were watching me and told me they wanted me to come to camp, so I went to camp and did good. I had kind of gave up because they were looking at me, but they weren't really talking to me as much.
"As the season went on during my 10th grade year, they just kept talking to me. Coach Turner was talking to my coaches and coach Brian Johnson was talking to my coaches, and they were just saying they were coming back for me. Today on my way to workouts, coach Johnson and my head coach, coach Luther Campbell, he called me and told me they offered me."
When dissecting Dan Mullen's program, Nolton says there is a whole lot to crack a smile about, including the program's success with manufacturing NFL talent. Defensive linemen Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga were selected during last weekend's NFL Draft, while Adam Shuler inked a free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
"They produce a lot of defensive linemen, the tradition, and just everything they're doing, like they're winning a lot of games," Nolton said of the Gators. "Coach Dan Mullen, he's a good coach and each time I see him he's having fun with recruits. I talked to one of the old players and he told me Gainesville is a good place to be. That's why I like them."
"He seems like a good guy," Nolton said. "He knows a lot of my coaches and was just telling me he's been watching me for a while and I was someone he kept his eye on. He wants to get to know me and seems real down-to-earth."
Nolton may have just registered the offer on Monday, but the Swamp is a destination he is already somewhat accustomed to. In addition to last summer's camp, Nolton also logged a campus tour during his freshman year and exited Gainesville with a much better understanding of the year-round tradition.
"Miami is like a city and they got good fans, but the Gators, like in Gainesville, it's all Gators," Nolton said. "Everywhere you go, they love the Gators. That's a college town. My coach has been telling me the SEC is different. It's all college environments within the city and that's how I feel Gainesville is.
"It's all Gators. Everything is Gators, Gators, Gators, like the whole town (laughter)."
Growing up in Miami, Nolton admittedly grew up admiring and rooting for the Hurricanes. Throughout the process of his recruitment, which won't be officially over for at least another year and a half, however, he isn't letting his fandom for the program influence his decision-making process.
"I actually was a fan of Miami because a lot of people from my neighborhood, and my friends and family, went to UM and stuff, so I grew up a Hurricanes fan," Nolton said. "Looking at how it is right now, I just have to make the best decision for me and go to whatever school I decide to go to."
Manny Diaz and company know they have the proximity advantage with him, but they are also the ones that Nolton communicates with the most. Along with UM, Nolton is speaking with several other schools the most, including the Gators.
"I would say it's Miami because that's who I've been talking to a lot," Nolton said. "I got a little relationship with South Carolina, Arizona State, TCU, and obviously Florida has been talking to me, and I talk to Florida State pretty good too. It's about five schools."
Stay tuned to GatorsTerritory.