Florida coach Jim McElwain and his assistants have shown the ability to flip recruits during their first year and a half in Gainesville.
The Gators flipped five prospects at the end of the 2015 cycle and six in the last class, including top-100 players Tyrie Cleveland and Feleipe Franks.
UF has pulled two Miami recruits — Kemore Gamble and Kadeem Telfort — away from the Hurricanes this year. The Gators will have a smaller signing class for 2017, so they’re looking to fill most of their remaining spots with elite talent.
Here are three in-state recruits that could flip to Florida:
Adarius Lemons, 4-star RB, North Carolina commit (Clearwater, Fla.)
The Gators have had their sights set on Lemons for almost a year. He’s the top target for running backs coach Tim Skipper, who recently attended Lemons’ spring game with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. Lemons made a surprising commitment to North Carolina in March and still seems solid to the Tarheels. He visited UF in late January but hasn’t been back for a visit since then. However, Lemons told Scout.com in the spring that he’s still considering the Gators and will take another trip to “check them out.” Their offense is expected to be better this season and feature a running back by committee. If Florida can show Lemons improvement and that there’s enough carries to go around, it could entice him to stay in-state.
Alex Leatherwood, 5-star OT, Alabama commit (Pensacola, Fla.)
The Gators are trying to flip a pair of five-star offensive tackles from Florida who are committed to the Iron Bowl rivals, in Calvin Ashley (Auburn) and Alex Leatherwood (Alabama). Both say they’re 100 percent firm (latest updates from Ashley and Leatherwood), but UF’s chances appear to be slightly better with Leatherwood at this time. He visited the Gators for their spring game and planned to make a return trip earlier this month. Offensive line coach Mike Summers gave Leatherwood his first scholarship offer last year, which he said plays into Florida’s favor. McElwain and his entire staff will hold a satellite camp at Leatherwood’s high school on Friday, which is indicative of how they feel about their chances.
c h o m p.. c h o m p… ?? pic.twitter.com/XIVyNBzoLH
— woodrow™ (@Alskee_) June 3, 2016
Shaun Wade, 5-star CB, Ohio State commit (Jacksonville, Fla.)
The Gators also set up shop at Wade’s high school for a satellite camp. They wouldn’t take the time to do that if there wasn’t a shot with him. UF has been threatening to flip Wade for a while, and the coaches are selling him on being Jalen Tabor’s replacement in 2017. Their pitch may work because he wants the opportunity to play as a true freshman. That’ll be there with the Gators, who might also lose junior cornerback Quincy Wilson to the NFL draft as well. Wade is coached by former Florida safety Guss Scott and has two players from his high school at UF (Kavaris Harkless and Nick Washington). All those factors — as well as proximity to home — could help sway Wade to the Gators.