- Henry Gola
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Three weeks. That's how long Corey Hobbs wanted to keep secret the biggest decision of his life.
It started on May 27. That's when Corey, a highly touted defensive tackle out of Oviedo High School in Florida, and his father Randy loaded up a friend's RV and began a 10-day trip that would take them to five schools vying for Corey's interest.
"Ten days on the road, just us? I wouldn't have wanted it any other way," Corey said of making the tour with his father.
Corey and Randy looped through the Southeast, starting at Florida State, then to Louisiana State, Alabama and Georgia before finally ending up at Florida, a place with some history for the Hobbs family.
That's where Randy was born, on campus at Shands Hospital, and where his parents, Jackie and the late Ted, attended college.
Randy was always fond of Gainesville, though he attended North Carolina and played defensive tackle for two years before a career-ending shoulder injury.
The night they arrived, the Hobbs attended an invitation-only barbecue where they got to meet Urban Meyer and the Gators' coaching staff. They both spent a good while talking to the new Gators coach.
"I joked with coach Meyer that I had two years of eligibility left," Randy said. "I told him I'd be happy to play again."
The next day, Corey began practice at an invite-only camp, working mostly with co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Greg Mattison. Corey was so impressed with everything he had seen, he made his decision right there.
"I told coach Mattison that I wanted to commit," Corey said. "Coach Meyer came down from working with the skill players, and I had some of the other coaches take my dad away for awhile.
"Coach Meyer was real excited, but I told him I wanted to keep it a secret until Father's Day."
To get a commitment from a kid like Corey, Meyer was glad to oblige.
The next three weeks weren't easy for Corey. His friends and family constantly asked him where he wanted to go and where he was leaning.
"I almost slipped a few times when they asked about Florida," he said, "but I always just said, 'Maybe I'll go there, maybe I won't.'"
Finally on Father's Day, Corey's mom Cynthia had heard Florida was going to announce a big commitment. He told her it was him.
"That morning, that was a big relief to finally tell someone," Corey said.
Knowing her husband was still left in the dark, Cynthia Hobbs began to subtly put Florida gear around the house.
At around 6 p.m., Corey Hobbs got a call from Meyer. After chatting for a little while, he handed the phone to his father.
"Coach Meyer broke the news to me that Corey had committed to Florida," Randy said. "I was speechless, I started crying. I was so happy."
His father's reaction was well worth the wait for Corey.
"I just wanted to thank him for all that he'd done," Corey said.
Of course, Corey wasn't the only member of the Hobbs family to receive an offer from Florida. Corey's official scholarship offer included another offer for his father.
The letter said if Randy Hobbs could report to camp at 185 pounds and get his 40-yard dash time to 4.5 seconds, the scholarship was his.
"I weigh 285 pounds, and my knees and back are shot, so I don't know if I'm gonna be able to do it," Randy joked. "But I appreciated the interest."
Corey Hobbs decided to wait three weeks to surprise his father with the biggest decision of his life.