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"Top Candidate" For Florida Job Has Reportedly Emerged

Three Florida Gators football helmets on the field.

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 08: Florida Gator's helmets sit in the endzone before the start of the 2007 Tostitos BCS National Championship Game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 8, 2007 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The Florida Gators only dismissed head coach Dan Mullen a week ago, but they may be among the first Power Five schools to announce their replacement.

According to Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated, Louisiana head coach Billy Napier has emerged as the top candidate in Florida's search. Should a deal be reached, he is expected to stay with the Rajin' Cajuns for their upcoming Sun Belt Conference Championship Game against Appalachian State.

Napier has been one of the hottest coaching candidates among the Power Five for a while. On top of turning Louisiana into a bonafide powerhouse, he has experience working under some of the best coaches in the game.

Prior to getting the Louisiana job in 2018, Napier coached under Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher and Dabo Swinney. But since 2018, he's gone 38-12 as head coach, leading the Cajuns to a Sun Belt crown in 2020.

Dan Mullen was fired as head coach of the Gators following a 5-6 start to the 2021 season. A loss to Missouri last week proved to be the final straw.

Mullen went 34-15 in just under four seasons at the helm. He led the Gators to three top-15 finishes and three New Year's Six Bowl appearances as well as the SEC Championship Game in 2020.

And that still wasn't enough to give Mullen job security through one bad season.

Needless to say, the expectations for Billy Napier won't be any lower than they were for Mullen if he gets the job.

Will Napier be the new head coach of the Florida Gators?