GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It’s crunch time for Florida coach Jim McElwain and his staff.
This is the final week of the January contact period, and the UF coaches are making one last push for National Signing Day as well as getting an early jump on 2017 recruits.
McElwain, defensive coordinator Geoff Collins and linebackers coach Randy Shannon traveled to Alabama on Monday for five-linebacker Lyndell Wilson and Gators defensive back commits Antonio Nelson and Jeawon Taylor. All three will officially visit the Gators this weekend.
On Tuesday, McElwain, offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, offensive line coach Mike Summers and defensive line coach Chris Rumph had an in-home visit with four-star offensive guard John Simpson (North Charleston, S.C./Fort Dorchester). Simpson will decide between Clemson and Florida on signing day.
McElwain and Nussmeier then joined running backs coach Tim Skipper and wide receivers coach Kerry Dixon II in Jacksonville for an in-home visit with Gators wide receiver commit Rick Wells. He heads to Virginia Tech on Wednesday for an official visit and returns to the Sunshine State on Friday for his trip to UF.
Skipper will be in Louisiana on Wednesday night to see five-star cornerback Kristian Fulton (Metairie Archbishop Rummel), one of several big visitors for Florida this weekend.
McElwain will conduct in-home visits Wednesday with five-star defensive end Brian Burns (with Rumph and Shannon), four-star tight end Nick Eubanks (with Dixon, Nussmeier and Shannon) and the parents of Gators linebacker commit Vosean Joseph (with Shannon).
Burns officially visited Florida last weekend and told SEC Country the Gators made their case, while his Plantation American Heritage teammate Eubanks will take his trip to UF this weekend. In an exclusive interview, Joseph’s mother had strong words for SEC Country on why her son is going to Florida over Alabama.
Collins, Dixon and Rumph will go in-home Thursday with Gators defensive end commit Jachai Polite, who is still considering another school and now faces a “hard decision.”
Although is McElwain and his assistants are focusing on closing out the 2016 class, they’ve also been able to put time toward underclassmen. There were more than a dozen seen Monday.
McElwain, Nussmeier and quality control assistant Marquel Blackwell visited 2017 four-star running backs C.J. Cotman and Adarius Lemons of Clearwater as well as 2017 athlete Matt Landers from St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut Academy.
Summers was in Tennessee for a trio of 2017 four-star recruits: athletes Maleik Gray (LaVergne) and JaCoby Stevens (Nashville Oakland) and offensive tackle Trey Smith (University School of Jackson).
Nord visited 2017 four-star defensive tackles Cory Durden and Ja’len Parks (Florida State commit), a pair of local products from Newberry. He was also in the Ocala area for 2017 offensive tackle Blake Vinson and 2018 athlete Justin Watkins (LSU commit) of North Marion and 2017 Vanguard quarterback Nkosi Perry, a Miami commit.
Skipper stopped by Broward Country for 2017 defensive end Jordan Wright (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard), South Plantation High and other schools in the area. Rumph hit Tampa high schools Berkeley Prep and Jefferson, which features 2017 offensive guard Jean Marcellus and 2018 wide receiver Jermaine Eskridge.
While in Jacksonville on Wednesday, McElwain and Skipper also visited high schools First Coast, Raines and Trinity Christian, home to FSU receiver commit D.J. Matthews and Ohio State cornerback commit Shaun Wade. Both are top-100 overall prospects for 2017.
On Thursday, McElwain will check out underclassmen in Fort Myers and Naples. He and Nussmeier are also seeing 2017 Gators quarterback commit Jake Allen and 2017 five-star wide receiver Trevon Grimes of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
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