Remember His Name: Chief Borders
Updated: Jun 12
BY AINSLESS LEE
Football analysts will often say “don’t forget his name”, referring to an “under the radar” recruit.
But make no mistake – no one will forget a name like Chief Borders.
As a newborn with a red tint to his hair, his mom began calling him “the little red Indian”. It only seemed fitting that his parents name him “Chief” considering he’d be the man of the house when his dad would have to leave home from work.
“I was the chief of the house,” Borders told GatorBait. “You put those two things together and you get Chief.”
Now, a four-star recruit out of Carrollton, Georgia, Borders is ready to be a leader in Gainesville.
After nabbing offers from Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, Auburn and Michigan, among others, Borders committed to Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators on November 10, 2019, after watching UF dismantle Vanderbilt 56-0 in The Swamp.
After announcing his commitment, Borders took to Twitter to provide an inside look at what Mullen had to say about his new outside-linebacker pledge.
“We’re excited to have you here in the family,” Mullen told Borders in the video. “Special things are going to happen because there is nowhere in America where you can become the best on the field and off of the field like you can in The Swamp.”
And while being a standout on the football field is important to Borders, the second half of Mullen’s statement might be the most appealing part.
Though Borders will come into Gainesville by way of Carrollton, Georgia, the four-star outside linebacker hails from Chicago, Illinois.
And while Borders is proud to be from The Windy City, he also admits that moving south had great impacts on his journey to SEC football.
“It’s a beautiful city,” Borders says of his hometown. “But me, being a young, intelligent black man… I’ve got to make myself more open to get access to a better path. I feel like my parents did a phenomenal job getting me out of that city and that area so that I could grow and spread my wings.”
In 2018, the "Chicago Tribune" reported that nearly 33,000 juveniles had been arrested over the last two decades for being affiliated with Chicago-area gangs.
Being from Illinois, Borders was raised on the Fighting Illini, but called Stanford and Oregon his “dream offers” – both of which he received.
But as offers began to pour in, there was something about Florida that simply stuck out when compared to the others: Florida is ranked No. 7 among public universities.
As it stands, Borders will be coming to Gainesville with intentions of studying pre-med before heading to medical school.
“My goal is to be the number one pediatrician in the world,” Borders told GatorBait. “And that’s on top of football. And I know I can do it.”
Meanwhile, life on the football field is just as important as life in the classroom for the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Florida commit. And Borders spent no time at all making relationships with those already on Florida’s roster.
Kyle Pitts, Jonathan Greenard, Jacob Copeland and Mohamoud Diabate were four Gators that really helped Borders feel at home in Gainesville.
And while Borders is listed as an outside linebacker, the ESPN 300 player tabs himself as an athlete.
“I plan on starting my freshman year,” Borders says. “At any position, because I’m an athlete… I’m not going to put a label on myself. I can always play outside linebacker, I can always play wide receiver, tight end, safety, strong safety… I can play anything. I’m a versatile student-athlete… That’s my pride and joy.”
Borders is ranked as the 19th best outside linebacker in the country by 247Sports. He joins 17 other Florida commits, making up the seventh-best 2021 recruiting class, according to 247Sports.
And according to Borders, that class is sure to grow as he and the other 2021 commitments continue to recruit alongside Mullen and Co.
“I’m always working on recruiting my boys,” Borders says. “They’re going to choose their options, but if you want to come to Florida and be great, then this is the place that you want to go to. And you’ll have that degree in your hands and walk that stage. This is the place that you want to go.”