MIRAMAR, Fla. — Offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort has been committed to Florida for quite a while, but he admitted he was still only 80-85 percent sure of his college choice before he made his official visit to Gainesville two weekends ago.
When he left, however …
“My sense (was) it’s over. I don’t have to worry about the process anymore,” Telfort said Sunday during an interview in his home.
While he’s relieved to have the recruiting process behind him and eager to enroll early at Florida the first week of January, Gators coaches have to be every bit as relieved and eager to get Telfort on the roster.
The 6-foot-7, 310-pound 4-star recruit from Booker T. Washington High School gives the Gators a potential impact addition at one of their greatest areas of need, along the offensive line. He’s a natural tackle, though he said he has played guard before as well.
Florida has shown a willingness — or perhaps more so a need — to start true freshmen along the offensive line the last two years (see Martez Ivey, Fred Johnson and Tyler Jordan in 2015 and Jawaan Taylor this season). And that’s Telfort’s intent.
“When I started watching their games, I realized that the coaches weren’t lying about (how) they really need help and I could come in and make an impact,” he said. “My opportunity, since I’m coming in early, they said I have seven months to fight for a No. 1 spot. So I feel like seven months is enough for me to come out on top.”
Get to know Gators offensive line recruit Kadeem Telfort, who is enrolling early at Florida and hoping to make an immediate impact. Send in questions.
Posted by Florida Gators Insiders on Sunday, December 18, 2016
Telfort, ranked the 27th best offensive tackle prospect nationally by the 247Sports composite, drew 20 scholarship offers and is one of the most important pieces in the Gators’ recruiting class.
He was committed to hometown Miami early in the process before attending a camp at Florida prior to his junior season and getting on the Gators’ radar. He said their scholarship offer came a couple months later and he’s been committed to UF since July 2015.
But, of course, commitments never stop other schools from pursuing their coveted targets.
Right up until the start of the dead period this month, Telfort said he would receive 3-4 recruiting calls a day. Baylor jumped in late after new head coach Matt Rhule was hired Dec. 6, and Louisville has maintained its push throughout the process.
“Baylor came in last minute because the Temple coaching staff was there, so they felt they couldn’t get me at Temple, now that they have a bigger name, a bigger brand to broadcast, they felt like they could get me there,” Telfort said. “I told them straight up, ‘You guys came in kind of late in the process.'”
Louisville, who was the second school to offer him overall, was his runner-up, he said, but the Gators maintained the edge.
“Based off the visit and the connection with the coaches,” Telfort said. “… The official visit was great. They had a lot of stuff, they put my highlights together and played it on the board. They had me take pictures in the uniform, video shoot and everything.”
That official visit to Florida two weekends ago sold not only Telfort, but his mother Gerta Telfort as well.
“It got emotional for me when I went to UF,” she said. “I saw the field, The Swamp. I walked on The Swamp, and when they showed the video on (the video board) of all his (highlights) I got emotional and went into tears. And he was like, ‘Mom, what are you crying for?’ It’s just the simple fact that you would want your child to succeed, especially at something they’ve wanted ever since they were a child. So when you see that, you get so overwhelmed.”
Telfort will live out his dream at Florida, while the Gators’ coaches might be able to sleep a little easier now with the coveted offensive lineman in the fold and eager to make an immediate impact.