JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida players had no comment Saturday when asked about Jim McElwain’s job security.
Recruits didn’t either.
Following the Gators’ 42-7 loss to Georgia, SEC Country reached out to several prospects to get their reaction to McElwain and the game.
Except for UF safety commit Amari Burney, who took the loss to heart.
“I love the Gators and when they lose I lose as well,” Burney said. “It hurts me that I can’t be there right now to help these guys.”
Burney is one of nine mid-year enrollees scheduled to sign early in December. He and the other recruits confirmed those plans with SEC Country on Tuesday.
But with Saturday’s loss and the uncertainty now surrounding McElwain, the Gators could start losing commits if they don’t get answers soon.
In his post-game press conference, McElwain said he wouldn’t be surprised if he’s done coaching at Florida (read more). Those comments won’t sit well with recruits.
They were already concerned about his future prior to the game, with reports surfacing that boosters are pooling money for McElwain’s buyout. Now it’s a reality.
If his time is up in Gainesville, the administration needs to act fast so the new coach has time to assemble a staff and salvage Florida’s top-10 recruiting class.
“We’ve got a hell of a group coming in,” McElwain said of his 2018 class earlier this week. “I think they have a chance to be really good players.”
Quarterback Matt Corral is the top-rated recruit for the Gators and hasn’t wavered on his pledge this fall. Last week he told SEC Country a coaching change wouldn’t affect his commitment, but things have obviously worsened this weekend.
Nothing can stop a brotherhood with the same goal. #AllBite18
— M A T T Y (@corral_matt) October 28, 2017
Corral is the glue keeping Florida’s class together at this point. If McElwain leaves and he doesn’t de-commit, others might follow his lead and give the new coach a chance.
But if Corral elects to re-open his recruitment, many of Florida’s top commits will likely do the same. Players such as Jacob Copeland, Ja’Marr Chase and Dameon Pierce were influenced and intrigued by Corral’s decision.
On Sunday, all of them will be awaiting the decision from Gators athletics director Scott Stricklin.