Sal Sunseri is now a defensive line coach for the Florida Gators, and over the course of the last 34 years he has coached for 12 other schools and professional teams, including Florida State.
Unfortunately, while it’s fairly common for lifelong assistants such as Sunseri to use players they’ve coached at previous stops in their recruiting pitches, it appears the 58-year-old may have overstepped his boundaries in a very public way.
Sunseri tweeted out an infographic highlighting all the players the Florida coaching staff had selected in the 2018 NFL Draft that included Derrick Nnadi, Josh Sweat and Rick Leonard from Sunseri’s time at Florida State. The only problem is, Sunseri didn’t actually coach any of those players and Nnadi made certain that everybody knew it.
Nnadi called Sunseri out, stating simply that Sunseri had never coached him and that he had left the university before Sweat arrived on campus. Also omitted was the fact Leonard played offensive line and Sunseri was a defensive ends coach.
Sunseri deleted the tweet but stuck his foot further into his mouth by not acknowledging just how far he knew he was reaching and attempting to change the narrative.
Blessed to have had the opportunity in the recruitment of great players to every program I have coached. So happy for their success after moving on. Always love the players that’s what it’s all about! #whosnext
— Sal Sunseri (@coachsunseri) May 11, 2018
Even if you give Sunseri the benefit of the doubt that he truly is just happy for these players, the lack of awareness is stunning. When someone spends two seasons as a position coach at a program four years ago and was not a part of a player’s success but then resurfaces years later (at a bitter rival) using their names as recruiting tools, it’s not going to turn out well.
Nnadi (justifiably) made sure of that, and it’s a shame that Sunseri can’t just say “You’re right” and think of a better way to make his pitch to prospective recruits. But, if the follow-up tweet is any indication, he hasn’t learned that approach.