Mullen mulls college future

17 February 2021 22:48:12 GMTPlus10

Florida coach Dan Mullen has rejected claims that he spoke to NFL teams about coaching vacancies earlier this year, but didn't deny that he could be tempted to leave college football for the pros one day.

Last season, the 48-year-old steered the Gators to the Southeastern Conference Championship game where they gave the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide their hardest game of the year.

A lot of rumours out there, but I didn't speak to anybody.

Dan Mullen

A depleted Florida were then beaten in the Cotton Bowl by Oklahoma after a number of key starters opted out to focus on preparing for the NFL draft.

Top wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes plus star tight end Kyle Pitts, who is projected to be a first-round selection, all missed the 55-20 blowout loss.

Mullen's stock was understood to be high when seven NFL franchises were looking for new head coaches in January, but he stayed in Gainesville.

"A lot of rumours out there, but I didn't speak to anybody," Mullen said during a Zoom interview session on Tuesday, two days ahead of the start of spring practice.

The challenges of dealing with the transfer portal, which forces coaches to continually re-recruit their own players, and the evolving legal landscape for young athletes to exploit their earning potential through image rights has created some uncertainty over the future of the college game.

"I'll address it this way: I think a lot of people are trying to figure out what the future of college football is going to hold and what that's going to look like going forward," added Mullen when specifically asked if he would consider switching to the NFL in the future.

"I love being here at the University of Florida. I think we have a great program. We have a great fan base, great history, the opportunity to be a championship program every single year."

Florida are 28/1 to clinch their first national title since 2008, with their SEC rivals Alabama 3/1 to repeat their success of last term.

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