The Florida Gators are the nation’s hottest team in recruiting.
The McElwain train left the station after Friday Night Lights and continues adding top-200 talent with each week that passes. Now at No. 7 nationally in the 247Sports Composite team rankings, the Gators have a chance to sign a top-3 class.
With National Signing Day less than six months away, here’s what the Gators have left on their recruiting to-do list.
Landing linemen on both sides of the ball
Safety, wide receiver and offensive line were Florida’s top three needs heading into the 2018 cycle. Two of those boxes have been checked by UF coach Jim McElwain and his assistants, but they still have to land three or four linemen. New O-line coach Brad Davis has the Gators in great shape with 4-star targets William Barnes, Richard Gouraige and Nicholas Petit-Frere. UF needs to secure commitments from at least two of those in-state linemen.
With just Taylor Upshaw on board, defensive line coach Chris Rumph also has to add a couple more players at his position. The Gators have several targets remaining on their board, including 4-star defensive linemen Andrew Chatfield (Ohio State commit) and Nesta Silvera (Miami commit).
Keeping their top commits in the fold
With so many elite prospects on the commitment list, UF will undoubtedly have to fend off multiple schools. Florida’s top-rated commit, 5-star QB Matt Corral, is unlikely to waver on his pledge. However, the Gators must fight to keep 4-star WR commits Jacob Copeland and Ja’Marr Chase.
Copeland still plans to take trips and Alabama will always be a threat to flip him, while LSU is expected to put the full-court press on Chase this fall. It’s key for Florida to get Copeland and Chase back on campus during the season and bring them in for official visits late in the process.
Winning the state of Florida again
McElwain & Co. won the state in the 2017 recruiting cycle, signing more top-50 prospects from Florida than any other program in the country. However, Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State signed more recruits in the top 15 than UF. McElwain wants to change that this year and it’s possible.
The Gators have one 2018 commit from an in-state recruit ranked in the top 15 (Copeland) and they’re in the mix for Barnes, Petit-Frere, 5-star CB Tyson Campbell and 4-star DB Tyreke Johnson. Gouraige is the 16th-ranked player from Florida, but could rise in the rankings as a senior.