Billy Napier seems to have completed his initial coaching staff at Florida by hiring Jay Bateman as the inside linebackers coach. (The words “seems to have” are included because he’s already built such an unprecedented army that you never know if or when he’ll create another title, and then fill it.)
Bateman coached North Carolina’s safeties and earned a co-defensive coordinator tag with the Tar Heels from 2019-21. Immediately upon arrival at UNC, his Tar Heels took a tremendous step forward defensively after the previous season. In his second season in Chapel Hill, the 2020 season that was shortened by COVID, the Heels racked up 36 sacks, which was good for fifth in the country. Even with the shortened year, those 36 sacks were the most a UNC defense had accumulated in a single season since 2000.
However, the Tar Heels took a step back defensively in 2021, and Bateman was let go by UNC coach Mack Brown following the season. After a couple of weeks of looking around, Bateman found his new home in Gainesville.
Yes, I know that there comes a bit of wariness with hiring a coach who just got fired from his previous job. At Florida, though, he’ll have fewer responsibilities as a position coach as opposed to a coordinator. Yet at the same time, he’ll have enough of a handprint on the defense as the ILB coach for the aggression his teams are known to play with to shine forth.
Then there’s the biggest boon with pulling in Bateman: his recruiting prowess.
At North Carolina, Jay Bateman routinely reeled in four and five-star prospects at a school without a real history of doing so (at least in football.) Among his biggest splashes on the recruiting trail at UNC: five-star defensive lineman Keeshawn Silver, four-star defensive end Desmond Evans, four-star wide receiver Andre Green, four-star linebacker RaRa Dillworth, four-star safety Ja’Quorious Conley, four-star defensive tackle Kedrick Bingley-Jones, and four-star defensive end Malaki Hamrick. You can check out all the other top prospects he landed here.
And keep in mind that, again, that’s at UNC, a school that’s not so easy to recruit football talent to.
If all that sounds impressive, remember: now he’ll be recruiting on behalf of a school that’s much easier to naturally recruit at, in a state that’s even more stockpiled with talent, and with significantly more resources at his disposal.
So, welcome to the Swamp, Jay Bateman. Let’s get to work.