GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Shaun Wade was the biggest recruiting name on Florida’s campus Saturday.
The 5-star cornerback from Jacksonville, Fla., attended the Gators’ season opener vs. Massachusetts with his parents.
“They liked the atmosphere,” said Wade, an Ohio State commit. “They’ve never seen anything like this on the first game of the season. They’ve never been to a Florida game (together). My mom has, but this is my dad’s first time coming up here.”
Wade previously told SEC Country the Gators needed to win over his parents, and he said this weekend’s trip helped their chances. The visit was also beneficial for him.
“I noticed they’re going to be losing maybe three cornerbacks, so it’s big hole to fill,” Wade said. “They play a lot of nickel and there’s a fifth defensive back on the field at all times. So that’s big.”
UF secondary coach Torrian Gray drove home that message to Wade when they talked after the game. The Florida coaches are selling Wade on taking over for Jalen Tabor, a projected first-round pick for the 2017 NFL Draft.
“They’re thin on cornerbacks. That’s the word,” Wade said. “It means a lot to me. That means I can get on the field right away if I work hard and do what I got to do.”
Wade is ranked the nation’s No. 3 cornerback and No. 18 overall prospect. Despite his pledge to the Buckeyes, he has a top 5 of Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame and Southern Cal.
Wade is scheduled to officially visit the Irish on Sept. 17, and he’ll return to Gainesville this fall.
“I’ll be back, I just don’t know what game,” Wade said. “Probably Florida-LSU (on Oct. 8).”
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.