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Florida coach Dan Mullen had a pair of 5-star recruits on campus last weekend.

Florida recruiting: Dan Mullen and Co. attracting blue-chip talent

Zach Abolverdi

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Former Florida coach Jim McElwain had finally turned the corner in recruiting at the end of his tenure, but it took him more than two years to put the Gators in contention for blue-chip talent.

New Gators coach Dan Mullen has only been on the job for four months, but he and his staff members have been attracting more elite recruits than McElwain did in his first year.

McElwain signed a pair of 5-star recruits (CeCe Jefferson and Martez Ivey) in the 2015 class, but 16 of the 20 signees were 3-star recruits and the Gators finished No. 21 nationally — the lowest raking for a first-year Florida coach.

The average star rating (3.78) and number of 4-star signees (12) in Mullen’s first class trumps not only the transition year under McElwain, but Will Muschamp (2011), Urban Meyer (2005) and Ron Zook (2002), as well.

We’ll have a better sense for the potential of Florida’s 2019 class by the summertime, but the first weekend of spring ball was an encouraging sign. The Gators had five top-200 overall prospects on campus, including the nation’s No. 1 and No. 6 overall recruits: 5-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and 5-star running back Trey Sanders.

Mullen and his staff appear to more aggressive and persistent with their recruiting efforts, using multiple coaches to contact prospects on a daily basis. Moreover, Mullen’s personality and recruiting pitches seem to be hitting home.

“He’s just straight forward,” Thibodeaux told SEC Country of Mullen. “He’s not a used car salesman like most coaches are. He is who he is. There’s nothing to hide or under his sleeve. What you see is what you get. He’s probably one of the most honest and respectable men I’ve ever met.”