SAN ANTONIO - Choosing Florida was not difficult for Nick Kasa but saying no to Colorado, the hometown school where he had developed such a strong relationship with coach Dan Hawkins, was a tough thing to do.
Still, Kasa said at Sunday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl registration, when he weighed all the pros and cons, Florida handily came out on top and he cannot wait to get to Gainesville.
"I loved both Colorado and Florida," said Kasa, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound defensive end from Broomfield (Colo.) Legacy. "Their coaches and everything were pretty equal with both of them but it turned out that Florida is a better football school so that's mainly how I decided that."
Defensive end will be his primary position but Kasa said the Florida coaches have talked about experimenting with him at tight end, a position he played in junior varsity. The Gators are loaded at defensive end and only have one tight end returning so it might be a fit that works but if Kasa is playing well on defense he could stay there.
"I used to play tight end a lot my freshman year, I only played JV for two games, but I played tight end for that so that was pretty good," Kasa said. "I'd need to work on my hands a little bit."
Kasa took his official visit to Florida during the LSU weekend and he'd been on campus numerous other times for camps or practices. He has developed a strong relationship with defensive line coach Dan McCarney and that was another key factor in making his decision.
"I felt comfortable at both Colorado and Florida and I liked both d-line coaches but the intensity of the SEC is a lot different than anything else," he said. "(McCarney) is intense, which I like. I know he's going to get me going and get me better as an athlete and hopefully get me to the next level which would be awesome."
Rivals.com rates Kasa as the fifth-best strong-side defensive end in the class behind Donte Moss (North Carolina), Malliciah Goodman (Clemson), Melvin Fellows (Ohio State) and Craig Drummond (Illinois). Moss, Goodman and Drummond are also playing in the Army game. Kasa said he's having a get-together at his house to watch the BCS championship game between Florida and Oklahoma.
"It's really cool," he said. "I'm going to have a big party at my house so that should be nice. It's going to be cool to see the guys I can play with next year that are going to be kicking some butt in that game."
Kasa is the top player in the Colorado top 15 of 2009, a member of the Rivals 250 and is second in the 'best against the run' category among defensive ends. The choice was difficult but Kasa said picking the Gators was the right decision and he has no regrets.
"It was pretty hard," he said. "(Hawkins) made it easy though because he's such a cool guy and he understood it. I think he knew that Florida and Colorado, it was a pretty obvious pick."