Fighting

WWE’s Titus O’Neil discusses University of Florida football, University of Miami’s Mark Richt

WWE superstar Titus O’Neil, a former University of Florida football player as Thaddeus Bullard, enjoys talking, watching college football.
WWE superstar Titus O’Neil, a former University of Florida football player as Thaddeus Bullard, enjoys talking, watching college football. WWE

WWE superstar Titus O’Neil is a former University of Florida defensive end, playing as Thaddeus Bullard under Coach Steve Spurrier from 1997-2000.

A member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, O’Neil remains active and supportive of the University of Florida. Once a Gator. Always a Gator.

The wrestling tights for the 6-5, 270-pound, sports entertainment standout are even Gators’ colors -- orange and blue.

O’Neil, who wore No.90 during his playing days, stood on the sideline during the University of Florida’s 27-2 loss to rival Florida State University on Saturday, Nov. 28 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field in Gainesville.

“It was tough, very tough,” O’Neil said, “and being on the sidelines, it was even tougher, but I’m still very, very proud of Coach Mac [Coach Jim McElwain] and his staff and those players. If you were an outsider looking in, nobody even expected them to be division champs, playing for the SEC title [Saturday, Dec. 5] versus Alabama, going 10-2 during the regular season. We have a lot to be very excited about and thankful for, and it’s only going to get better.”

Still, did WWE Hall of Famer and FSU Hall of Famer Ron Simmons call or message O’Neil, following the FSU/UF game?

“No. Not at all,” O’Neil said, “but I was prepared to send him one, though, and that back-fired on me. So next year.”

As for the big game against Alabama, O’Neil does not confront any bragging rights issues with other WWE superstars and divas for that one.

“Big E, obviously, is rooting for Iowa. Arn Anderson, Scott Armstrong and Road Dogg and Michael Hayes are all Georgia Bulldogs fans, because they spent so much time there. [WCW was based in Atlanta].

“Kane is a Tennessee fan, so I’ve been able to talk trash to him ever since I’ve been in WWE [since 2012], because they haven’t beat us, yet, and I think that’s about it. Oh, Seth Rollins is an Iowa guy, too. He roots for Iowa.”

Iowa plays Michigan State for the Big Ten Championship on Saturday, Dec. 5.

Speaking of Georgia, former Bulldogs coach Mark Richt just inked a deal with the University of Miami, another Florida rival.

O’Neil, a high school All-American, was heavily recruited out of Suwannee High School in (North Central Florida) Live Oak. A No.1 recruit, he made the recruiting rounds, visiting some of the top college programs and meeting the top college coaches and assistant coaches.

“[At that time] Mark Richt was at Florida State [as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach],” O’Neil said. “Probably out of all the choices that are out there this year, I think [Miami] is the perfect place for Mark Richt to be. He’s a great man of Faith. He’s a great coach. He’s a people person. He has absolutely zero ego, and he’s going to have a coaching staff that is going to be comprised of the same type of guys; so the University of Miami is going to have great character guys, and they’re going to build their program back up. I truly believe that with Mark Richt there.”

Richt starred at quarterback in the late 1970s for Boca Raton High School in South Florida and played behind star college and pro quarterback Jim Kelly in the early 1980s at the University of Miami. Richt coached at Florida State from 1985-2000 with one year [1989] at East Carolina. He earned his first head coaching job with Georgia [2001-15].

O’Neil said: “Although I never played for him, I had friends who played for him, and every interaction that I’ve ever had with him -- whether as player myself or after I was finished playing, through kids who I’ve mentored who went onto play for him -- we have nothing but great things to say about him.”

When his in-ring wrestling days are done and if not working in another capacity for WWE, a company he enjoys, O’Neil is interested in coaching college football and broadcasting somewhere. One where, the University of Florida, is always an option.

@MarkRicht

@TitusONeilWWE

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