Critical time for Florida staff
Florida coach Jim McElwain and his nine assistants hit the road in full force Monday, visiting several of their commits and top targets.
This week is a critical time for the coaches and recruiting staff. Each school has 42 allotted days for the fall evaluation period, and Florida uses about 30-34 of those days during the bye week, according to director of player personnel Drew Hughes.
“This is a two- or three-week process that we’ve been planning before we even get to it,” Hughes said on McElwain’s radio show. “It’s so important to get out there, get in their high schools, get in the community and have that Gator brand out there that’s so easy to sell.
“So the bye week from a recruiting standpoint is huge because it’s an opportunity to get all nine of our assistants out on the road. But it’s also important to get Coach Mac out on the road in front of certain kids.”
On Monday, those kids were offensive tackles Richard Gouraige and Nicholas Petit-Frere — two of Florida’s top remaining targets — as well as UF commits Amari Burney, Curtis Dunlap, Taylor Upshaw and Jaquaze Sorrells.
“There is tremendous power in having boots on the ground and coaches going in these schools,” Hughes said. “You’re going to talk to a high school coach or an administrator, but you really find out who a player is by talking to the lunch lady or anyone who deals with them every day. It’s amazing what you can find out about the player as a person and as a student.
“There’s also a lot of power in that kid that you’re recruiting playing on Friday night in front of his buddies and he looks over on the sideline and there’s the head coach of the Gators. That’s got tremendous power, too.”
And that’s what McElwain enjoys most about this week — seeing things for himself. And not just on the football field, either.
“The important thing is the evaluation. The live evaluation,” McElwain said on his radio show. “This week, it’s an opportunity now to go see guys practice live and handle all the things thrown at them. We’ll be able to go to games where we can see them compete. It’s different than seeing on film. That live evaluation is so important.
“It’s also going to allow us to go into those schools and actually visit with counselors, actually visit with teachers, actually visit with janitors and other people within the school to find out exactly what the make up of these guys are. We try to track all the intangibles. It’s not just how they play.”
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