As Jim McElwain tries to rebuild Florida football into a championship program, one of his mottos is ‘recruit daily or die.’ Join us here on SEC Country for a daily recap of the latest UF recruiting news, tales from the trail and perspective on what it all means for the Gators.
Alabama makes a move for C.J. Henderson
Since his de-commitment from Miami (Fla.) in early October, it’s been assumed that C.J. Henderson would land at Florida.
However, the 4-star cornerback from Miami officially visited Alabama last weekend and came away impressed with the Crimson Tide.
“I feel like I can see myself (at Alabama),” Henderson told SEC Country after his trip to Tuscaloosa. “Alabama did everything it could and they can’t get any higher now.”
Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey declared for the NFL Draft just hours before Henderson arrived for his visit, which helped the Tide make their case with him.
“It changes things for Alabama a lot,” Henderson said of Humphrey’s departure. “Now, they’re pretty high on my list. I just didn’t expect my visit to be as top notch as it was. I also didn’t realize how big of an opportunity I have to come in and play early.”
Henderson also has that opportunity at UF with juniors Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson turning pro. The Under Armour All-American believes both Alabama and Florida can prepare him for the NFL, but he said the programs have their differences.
“Not everybody can play defensive back at Alabama,” Henderson said. “At Alabama, they make sure you’re eating the right way and training the right way. They really just make sure you’re doing everything the right way. I know (Alabama) can develop me for the next level.”
Henderson maintains he still has a top 3 with Miami in the mix but admits “it’s really close between Alabama and Florida.” The 6-foot-1, 175-pound cornerback will officially visit the Gators this weekend and then decide on Feb. 1, National Signing Day.
“I just need to get that feeling like I need to be there,” Henderson said asked about his upcoming trip to UF. “I have to get that feeling that tells me I need to be there. That’s what I need to see.”
For more on Henderson’s trip to Alabama, read here.
Feb 1st gonna be crazy..?
— Chris Henderson Jr. (@HendersonChris_) January 16, 2017
Recruiting impact of Mike Summers’ departure
Florida lost offensive line coach Mike Summers to Louisville on Saturday. Despite his presence on the recruiting trail as recently as Friday, the move doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
Summers is a veteran coach who provided development and stability at UF for a position group that had lacked both. He was also loved his players because of his coaching style and calm demeanor.
However, Florida coach Jim McElwain wants his linemen to be more physical up front and publicly criticized the play of that unit on a few occasions, including after the bowl game. While Summers was great at evaluating talent, he wasn’t an ace recruiter for the Gators and they need to improve in that area.
His departure doesn’t hurt UF with offensive tackle pledge T.J. Moore or top target Kai-Leon Herbert, a Michigan pledge from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. However, 3-star offensive tackle Caleb Chandler (Jefferson, Ga.) canceled his Florida trip (Jan. 27) upon hearing the Summers news and committed to Louisville on Sunday after his official visit.
News & notes
- Louisville commit Malik Cunningham, a 3-star athlete from Montgomery, Ala., plans to officially visit Florida on Jan. 27.
University Of Florida will get my last official visit 27-29 #chompChomp ???♂️
— 〽️AGIC™ (@MalikMalikc10) January 16, 2017
- McElwain visited JUCO defensive tackle Malik Young (Eastern Arizona College) on Monday. Young also plans to visit UF this month.
— Malik Young (@Young4Malik) January 16, 2017
- Gators cornerback Elijah Blades gave an update on his recruitment after visiting Florida over the weekend. He did not respond to calls and texts from SEC Country.
TO ALL REPORTERS: Yes I enjoyed my visit to Florida this weekend. Im still committed to Florida. Nebraska visit on the 20th.
— ELIJAH – BLADES™ (@savageszniv) January 16, 2017