GAINESVILLE, Fla. — After another game of missed field goals by Austin Hardin, Florida coach Jim McElwain vowed once and for all to fix the problem.
“We’ll get a kicker,” McElwain said following the loss to Florida State. “That’s our responsibility. We’ll get a good one.”
McElwain delivered Tuesday.
The Gators landed Eddy Pineiro, the nation’s No. 1-ranked junior college kicker from Miami (Fla.) ASA junior college. Video of him making a 77-yard field goal went viral this month.
Blessed to make this decision … I'm OFFICIALLY a FLORIDA GATOR ?? I'm ready to Chomp Chomp?? pic.twitter.com/vdPAJZ3Tcu
— Eddy Pineiro (@eddypineiro1) December 16, 2015
Pinerio attended junior college on a soccer scholarship and will have four years of eligibility at Florida. It’s a big recruiting win for McElwain over Alabama and Nick Saban, who put the full-court press on Pineiro in an effort to keep him.
Pineiro pledged to the Crimson Tide over Florida back in June, but he continued showing interest in the Gators throughout the fall. He attended the UF-Ole Miss matchup, but then visited Tuscaloosa for the LSU game and called himself “200 percent” committed to Alabama.
However, Pineiro returned to Gainesville on Nov. 27 for an official visit and shared a car ride with McElwain. Following in-home visits from both McElwain and Saban earlier this month, Pineiro visited Alabama last weekend for the final trip of his recruitment.
Not many coaches can promise recruits a starting job from day one, but McElwain will surely be able to hand over the kicking duties to Pineiro upon his arrival in January.
The Gators now have 26 commitments and 11 early enrollees with the addition of Pineiro.
— Brandon Kornblue (@KornblueKicking) December 16, 2015
77 yarder the grind don't stop working hard to be the best. pic.twitter.com/p5s4GQVpAi
— Eddy Pineiro (@eddypineiro1) December 1, 2015