Gators nab Bolles linebacker Jack Pyburn on eve of signing day

Bolles linebacker Jack Pyburn committed to the University of Florida on Tuesday afternoon. (Cole Pepper, News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bolles linebacker Jack Pyburn got a head start on making his college decision.

Pyburn, an All-News4JAX first-team selection, verbally committed to the University of Florida on Tuesday afternoon, one day before he can officially sign with the Gators.

Sitting at a table at his elementary school, San Jose Episcopal, across the street from the Bolles School campus, Pyburn picked up the Gators hat, choosing the orange and blue over Miami and Auburn.

“I looked up to Tim Tebow and players like, six or seven years ago, Jarrad Davis. Players like that who played with relentless effort and believed in the program. It’s those kinds of things that make me want to be like those guys and be a Gator great and help the standard return.”

Pyburn (6-4, 260 pounds) had a team-leading 109 tackles, including 32 for loss during his senior season for the Bulldogs. He was also the team’s top sack artist, notching 14 of them. Despite his childhood dream of playing for the Gators, Pyburn didn’t consider it attainable just a few years ago. But hard work in the weight room and a dedication to improving his game made it possible. Then, when Billy Napier was named as the new head coach at Florida, the potential for the dream to be realized came into view.

“Being able to go on an official visit, you get to spend a lot of the time with the coaches and really get to know them and spend a lot of one on one time with them, (made a difference),” Pyburn said. “And just the remarks he was making and the things that he talked about were all the right things that resonated with me, and I could see that he was very similar-minded to me and had the same vision as me. And so I knew that he was the right coach for me.”

Pyburn’s recruiting boomed in recent weeks. He picked Florida and coach Billy Napier over Auburn and Miami.

He passed on signing with his original school (Minnesota) in the early signing period and decommitted from the Golden Gophers in early January.

Florida needed to build depth at the rush end position and getting Pyburn late was a priority. After Khris Bogle decided to transfer, the Gators only had Brenton Cox, Lloyd Summerall, and Antwaun Powell on the roster at the position.

Add Pyburn and fellow commit, Andrew Savaiinaea, Florida now has two young edge rushers to add for the future. Pyburn could also be moved around in various positions in Florida’s new look defense under co-DCs Patrick Toney and Sean Spencer. He spent time with OLB coach Mike Peterson on his official visit last week and has a history of playing linebacker and edge rusher at Bolles.

About the Authors:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.

Cole joined News4Jax full-time in January 2017, but he has been a part of the team since he began filling in as a sports anchor in 2005.