Still, after a month of really busting it on the recruiting trail, there were several scholarship spots left for prospective athletes. The staff was pretty sure who they expected to sign on signing day by this point and thoughts turned to the plan-B list.
At the same time, people from all parts of the world were on Gator Country and in the chat room. Some 50-60 people were also watching the Super Bowl and either praising the job that the staff did recruiting or referring to the fact that the class could have been better maybe if they had more time or various other reasons.
Then something happened. Tremaine McCullom, who had just visited the University of Florida with his twin brother on official visits from Miami, arrived back home and logged on to the free Gator Country chat. Once he told everyone who he was, the attention of the crowd turned to him and he became the star of the chat room. He told everyone that he loved his visit and was waiting on the coaches to call and offer him and his brother a scholarship. He didn't want to say they expected a call and was very humble by all the attention he was receiving. As time went by the people started to tell him to keep his head up and hope for the best. He logged in and out a few times and eventually told everyone he would log back on when and if the good news came.
Back in Gainesville, I happened to be monitoring the chat room. Honestly, I loved to do it and I was on the net looking for reports from other schools and their recruiting hauls. I used to post and chat under the moniker of GR8BIGG8R. At the time I was much closer to the vest about it than when I changed and started posting under the moniker of Tiny. The unique situation that was unfolding was something that is fun to share. As I was watching the chat, I told Coach Zook that Tremaine was in the chat and that 50-60 Gator fans were pulling for him and his brother and wanting for him to be a Gator. Not too long after that, Coach Zook pulled the trigger. He called and told Tremaine and Jermaine that scholarships were being extended to them and both were very excited.
Having known every bit of this as it was happening, I made sure to stay tuned to the chat room as Tremaine was certainly going to come back on. Mrs. Zook wandered by the office and I made sure to tell her what was about to happen. She decided she had to watch also. When Tremaine entered the chat room, the room went dead. A few seconds later, the words "I'm a Gator!!!" came across the screen with his moniker attached to it and the chat room exploded.
Everyone was so happy for him and his brother and poured on the love to the Miami native. Mrs. Zook had tears in her eyes over the moment. It was truly a moment that was GREAT to be a FLORIDA GATOR. A moment shared by 60 or so Gator fans from all parts of the Gator kingdom and the newly assigned football staff.
Fast forward to today. People all over Gator Country are wondering about our cornerback situation and out the fact that we have an abundance of short and not highly recruited corners. It definitely is and has been a concern coming into camp and is now.
However, let us not overlook the possible importance of that one move on Super Bowl Sunday 2002. In my practice reports for the last week I don't have the time nor the desire to print everything I record on my recorder. I skip over plays sometimes, not because each play doesn't mean anything, but I want to try and get a message across with the ones I do use. One thing that I have noticed and also been a little negligent on is the actual very fine play of the McCullom twins, and in particular Tremaine.
I included pictures of each them today because I intended to do a piece last night on them, The truth be told, Tremaine McCullom has made a bunch of plays on defense so far this preseason. He is breaking up passes, playing aggressive, hounding the receivers, all that you can want from him. I am as guilty as anyone at not looking at what he can do as much as what he can't do. I see the visual difference of him and the bigger corners and like anyone write him off. Still, the kid just keeps making plays. I have become a new fan. Evidently the staff has too as he was running with the second team today.
His brother Jermaine also has a spot on this team. Right now he is the second best kick blocker on the team. Number 26 usually lines up on the opposites side of Jemalle Cornelius and the tandem is hell on wheels trying to keep blocked in punt protection. He easily could make a big play or two and in fact I believe he had a late season block for us last year.
These guys may be written off as Plan-B by some, but I am not going to forget them while they are still wearing the Orange and Blue. My bet is; you won't be able to either.
(Photo courtesy of UF Sports Information)