football Edit

UA Game: Five-star Myles Graham is Florida 'through and through'

ORLANDO, Fla. - Myles Graham is a Florida legacy. He’s been committed to the Gators since August 2022. A late flip attempt from Alabama couldn’t persuade him to flip.

So more than most, the five-star linebacker from Gainesville (Fla.) Buchholz knows the stakes at Florida, understands the frustrations after three-straight losing seasons and it drives his hunger to get the Gators back on top.



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“This university means everything to me so I want to be a catalyst to help us get back to where it used to be - dominance over the country,” Graham said at Under Armour All-America Game media day. “We can do that. We have the right guys, the right tools in place and we’re going to do it here very soon.

“It’s important to me. I put my heart, my blood, sweat and tears, everything into the University of Florida to help us get back to what we used to be.

“We need leadership. We need guys to come together and rally together and just put their all into the field. We have the talent. We just need to have the right play-callers and the right plays to be successful. That’s on and off the field. We have a lot of work to do in the weight room and learning new schemes and new coaches.

“That’s the best thing I can do. That’s the role the coaches see me having - being a vocal leader. The linebacker is like the leader of the defense. I need to be as vocal as I can but still earn my way up to the top and earn those guys’ respect so they listen to me.”

Even though he’s been committed for so long, the last few weeks have seen a lot of changes.

Alabama coach Nick Saban tried his hardest to flip Graham and the message from the Hall of Fame coach was that the Crimson Tide would be the best spot for his development. There was some consideration there but ultimately Graham couldn’t say no to Florida.

“We went through a lot of adversity at the University of Florida and it wore on me at times but my heart was always at the University of Florida,” Graham said. “I love coach Saban, I love coach (Robert) Gillespie and everyone at the University of Alabama but, man, I’m just Gator through and through.

“He just felt Alabama was the best place for me to develop on and off the field. It’s a well-oiled machine over there and I’d come in and play a big role in the defense next year. He just felt that was the best place for me.”

There was also a shocking coaching change - one coach Billy Napier and Graham learned about through social media reports. Position coach Jay Bateman up and left for Texas A&M and the five-star linebacker was clearly caught off guard.

“I was very surprised by it,” Graham said. “I found out how everyone else found out through social media. It’s no hard feelings with him. I was very shocked because I was committed to him for almost two years and that was really my guy.

“We got really close over that span and I love him to death. He did what was best for him and his family and it was surprising but that’s good for him. We’re both going to do our separate things, go our separate ways and meet each other at the top.

“It did hurt. I didn’t know about it so I thought he was stabbing me in the back but it’s a business as a whole. The whole college football world is a business so it’s not just the University of Florida is a shaky business. It’s just the way of the world.”

Graham said he did learn a lesson to not commit to a coach but to a program. His father, Earnest, who played at Florida, took to social media to express his disappointment at the “disconnect” within the program and the “driest experience imaginable.”

Things have been smoothed over but the point was made. Graham said he stands behind his father’s actions. The five-star has also talked at length with Napier about the situation and he was even asked about certain names for the job that he would like to see hired.

“I’m glad what my dad did,” Graham said. “I back him on whatever he does and it will end up helping the university in that way, helping the program be more vocal and communicate better.

“(Napier) explained the situation and that he found out the same way we did, too. Billy Napier being the head coach found out the same way we did. We talked it out and he said I was in good hands. The next linebacker coach is going to be a great coach so he expressed to me there’s nothing to worry about.”

Graham even reached out to Bateman.

“I wished him farewell and I wished him good luck on his journey and he did the same to me,” Graham said. “So we’ll see each other in Week 3 of the season.”

It has been a challenging first two seasons under Napier, who went 6-7 his first season and 5-7 this year. The Gators haven’t had three-straight losing seasons since 1945-47.

But Graham believes in the system, in Napier and the future.

“I believe in the vision ever since I committed before he played his first game as a coach,” Graham said. “Coach Napier is a brilliant guy, he’s a great coach and we need to trust in him, trust the process and nothing is going to happen overnight.

“We want to win games. We let our emotions get in the way of that. We want to be the best team. But we have to be patient. A lot of programs are turned around after the second year. “Hopefully, we will be one of those programs, we have a winning season 8-9 games and we do our thing. I really do believe in him and we’ll turn it around.”