Chip Kelly hire would have immediate impact on Florida’s final Class of 2018 recruiting push
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Florida’s football coaching search has reached the point where reporters are checking flight logs by the hour and fans are tuning in to watch a live-stream camera feed at the local airport, hoping for visual proof to the buzz and rumors linking Chip Kelly to the Gators.
Most fans have formed an opinion on that potential hire, with the majority expressing excitement about what the former Oregon and NFL coach could do in Gainesville.
The bigger question (well, aside from whether Kelly actually will become Florida’s next coach) is how recruits would react if Kelly took over the Gators.
As the Kelly story is dominating the discussion this week, the latest Gators Mailbag Question of the Day takes a look at that angle.
Blake O. asks … “With Chip Kelly at coach, do you think recruits not interested in Florida now become interested in playing at UF?”
Definitely. Without question. No doubt. There really isn’t a strong enough way to answer this question.
There is no hire Florida could make (even UCF’s Scott Frost, who would also be a terrific choice if mutual interest aligned) that would make a bigger immediate impact nationally on the recruiting trail.
It’s honestly incredible that former coach Jim McElwain and beleaguered offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier were able to attract as many marquee offensive recruits (including the Class of 2018 commits) as they did despite a lack of tangible offensive results.
Surely, there were many other top prospects who saw that plodding and ineffective offense ranked in the 100s nationally year after year and decided they didn’t want to tie their futures to the Gators.
That should change immediately if — and that if must continue to be reiterated — Kelly is offered and accepts the Florida job.
As we broke down extensively, Kelly proved he could turn 3-star recruits and junior college transfers at Oregon into stars and get them to the NFL (let alone higher-ranked prospects). Quarterback Marcus Mariota became the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft, running backs LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner put up huge numbers and got shots at the next level. Jeff Maehl was listed as a cornerback by the national recruiting services, yet finished with 2,311 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns at Oregon.
All of those guys were rated 3-star prospects on the 247Sports composite.
Maybe a guy such as 4-star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who de-committed from Florida after McElwain was let go, looks at the prodigious numbers Kelly’s offenses at Oregon put up and decides he wants back in the Gators signing class.
Maybe he doesn’t, but there would no doubt be countless other prospects who look at Florida a little differently if Kelly is hired.
The Gators would be pitching a whole new product, an entirely different opportunity. They’d not only be pitching their brand, but also Kelly’s established track record.
And that would be pretty hard to not take a second look at … if it happens.
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