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Chris Bleich, Dan Mullen’s first UF commitment, is a physical run blocker

Chris Bleich

Offensive tackle Chris Bleich was the first commitment for Dan Mullen at Florida, and Bleich is proud of that.

“When I first committed, I didn’t even think anything like that,” he told GN. “But when someone told me, I thought that was actually pretty cool.”

Even better, in a way, is that Bleich decommitted from UCLA — you know, the school that hired Chip Kelly — and chose Florida. Bleich originally committed to Penn State and also had offers from, among others, He also had offers from Mississippi State, Nebraska, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.

Bleich (6 feet 6, 305 pounds), from Plymouth (Pa.) Wyoming Valley West, is a three-star prospect who is among the top-30 offensive tackle prospects in the nation and a top-15 overall prospect in Pennsylvania.

RELATED: What kind of work can Dan Mullen do on recruiting trail at Florida, both immediately and in future?

“The coaching staff was definitely a big part of it,” Bleich said. “I have a lot of trust and faith in them, and I felt like they were the best people to develop me for my overall future.”

Bleich liked what he saw out of Mullen’s time at Mississippi State, which is why in large part he committed to Florida.

“He has proven he can develop people with what he did at Mississippi State,” Bleich said. “I was a big fan of what they did there and the players they turned out. I just figured for me and for my aspirations that they were the best for me.”

Mullen brought offensive line coach John Hevesy with him from Mississippi State to Florida. Hevesy was the primary recruiter for Bleich, and Bleich says Hevesy always was straightforward with him.

“I feel like he will tell you how it is and there is no sugarcoating it with him,” Bleich said. “Some coaches will promise you this and that, but he just tells you how it is and he was just real with me and that’s why I liked him.”

What type of player are the Gators getting?

“For me, I just feel like I want to get my hands on you and drive you,” Bleich said. “I feel like my strength is definitely my run blocking. … I just like driving people off the ball; that’s my thing.”

Bleich, who played every position along the offensive line in high school, says he has been an indication by the Florida staff as to his college position.

“Coach Hevesy told me to start snapping the ball a lot,” he said. “So, I think my focus in Gainesville will be at both center and tackle.”

RELATED: The cupboard is closer to full than bare at Florida, but QB situation a giant concern

Florida’s 2018 class now sits at 16 commitments. Bleich is the third offensive lineman to commit to the Gators’ class. He joins four-star offensive line recruits Curtis Dunlap and Richard Gouraige.

(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)

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