(Justin Trattou profile)
It was a tough call for Trattou (6-4, 250) who has been committed to Notre Dame for quite some time. He recently visited Gainesville this past weekend and it certainly was more than he ever anticipated it being. He knew it was a change he had to make.
“I will always appreciate (Notre Dame),” Trattou said. “They were good to me and I can't say anything negative about them. The more I looked at it though, I just figured Florida was the spot for me.
“When I went down there on the official I saw the people, the atmosphere, the way the defense plays, the way the whole team chemistry was, I just wanted to be a part of it. Now, I just want to come in there and contribute and try and make that team better.”
It really wasn’t the National Championship that opened his eyes to the Gators. A bit of bad timing in his recruitment saw the Gators offer Trattou just as he was ready to make a commitment to his former favorite.
“(Florida) offered me back in the beginning of summer,” he said. “It was pretty hectic because that was the week I was committing (to Notre Dame). I pretty much committed early because my high school team prepared to win the state championship and did and I wanted to get (the recruiting) out of the way for the season.. We ended up number one in the state and seven in the country.”
The Gators were on his mind though and he was able to catch them on the television a couple of times. He saw an attacking and hungry defense that played like everything was on the line. So, he took a chance to come to Gainesville and see what else he might like.
“After watching how that defensive line played, I saw them a couple of times,” he said. “I always wanted to check them out and got the opportunity. It was more than I expected and I am really looking forward to getting down there.
“Coach Mattison is a great coach and his players play well. He showed me how good his guys were, how athletic they were and the passion they played with. I wanted to be a part of that.”
The plan during the week was to give Notre Dame one more chance to talk him out of what was an inevitable decision by making a trip to South Bend and talking things over with the staff and players there.. After thinking about it, he knew his mind wasn’t going to change and decided the best thing to do was getting the decision over with now.
“I was thinking about doing it (making the trip), but in the back of my mind I knew I was going to go to Florida,” he said. “Out of respect to them I let them know so they could get out there and do what they have to do.”
So, the Gator staff got to celebrate maybe a little earlier than they expected. Trattou let them know Thursday on their in-home visit that he would be coming to Gainesville in the fall and donning the Orange and Blue.
“I had Coach Meyer, Coach Mattison, and Coach Addazio at my house,” Trattou said. “When I told them I was going to be a Gator, they all jumped up and we started hugging, it was a special time.”