ORLANDO, Fla. – Xavier Filsaime never wanted this drama.
The four-star safety from McKinney, Texas was committed to Florida since April and was one of the ringleaders of keeping the Gators’ class together during the struggles this season.
But when position coach Corey Raymond got fired in Gainesville, Filsaime started to have serious second thoughts and Texas had stayed in his recruitment the whole time.
Shortly before National Signing Day, Filsaime made the difficult and gut-wrenching decision to flip to the Longhorns.
“It definitely wasn’t easy,” Filsaime said at Under Armour Game All-America media day. “I’d been committed to the school since April and the decision was made about a week before I signed. I wanted to make sure my future was stable.
“I have a lot of love for Florida, the program and everything. After the whole thing with coach Raymond, I didn’t know how stable the program would be. It’s been a lot these past few weeks – fans, coaches blowing me up. It’s been a lot of stress but now that I signed I’m glad the stress is off me.
“I’ve never been no attention-seeking type of guy. I don’t like all that.”
Florida’s 5-7 season didn’t really play a part in Filsaime’s decision. Neither did a rash of late decommitments. This all centered around Raymond’s exit and what Filsaime viewed as a more stable situation in Austin.
“It was the straw,” Filsaime said. “Nothing really happened before that. I wasn’t tripping that we didn’t win many games because I go in, I feel like I’m a difference-maker. I feel things would have been different. I could have changed things.”
Texas won out but LSU and Oregon also made late pitches to flip the McKinney standout. Despite his long-term commitment to the Gators, Texas had recruited him regularly for about two years.
“Ultimately, Texas was going to be the best idea for me and the best option for my future,” Filsaime said.
The Longhorns really got involved after their rivalry loss to Oklahoma and from there coach Steve Sarkisian and position coach Blake Gideon really turned it up. A late in-home from new Florida position coach Will Harris impressed Filsaime but by then the Longhorns were heavily trending.
“The scheme,” Filsaime said of Texas. “When I went down there the first time we talked about it and when (Gideon) came up to my school we talked about it. When I went down on my OV, it’s very similar to what I’m doing now. The only difference is I’m going against faster people. I feel like I have the knowledge to play the game, too.
“Coach Sark pulled up to the house, coach Gideon. They were calling me, texting me, they were showing a lot of love.”