As Pete Shinnick stood in front of a podium on national signing day Wednesday, his University of West Florida football team exactly seven months from the start of its historic first season, the head coach of the Argos talked about the differences in recruiting this year compared to a year ago when the program was starting up.
“I don’t want to say it was easier, but it was simpler,” Shinnick said. “We already had pre-existing relationships with coaches. What was really the best selling point for this year was that we already had players who could talk to the recruits about what it’s like to be coached by us. Last year, the players had to believe us that we were good guys and knew how to coach.”
Sixteen high school players, including 10 on defense, and eight mid-year transfers are part of the Argos’ second-ever recruiting class.
“Everything we’ve done since day is to find the right mix of athletes who will represent this university well and can help us compete in the toughest (NCAA Division II) football conference (Gulf South) in the country,” Shinnick said. “Our coaches put in a lot of hard work to get us to this place right now. They put in a lot of hours to make it happen.”
One of the most notable transfers is quarterback Kaleb Nobles, who played three years at national power Valdosta State. He redshirted this past season but started four games in 2014, throwing for 1,042 yards and coming off the bench to lead the Blazers to a second-round playoff win over Lenoir-Rhyne.
Read more in the Feb. 11 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.