As Jim McElwain tries to rebuild Florida football into a championship program, one of his mottos is “recruit daily or die.” Join us here on SEC Country for a daily recap of the latest Florida recruiting news, tales from the trail and perspective on what it all means for the Gators.
Richard Gouraige importance
Now in his third full cycle, Florida coach Jim McElwain has a few must-get recruits in the Class of 2018.
Not just to address roster needs, but to elevate his football team and compete for championships.
One was Gators WR commit Jacob Copeland, who was the first 2018 prospect offered by McElwain back in 2015. He and wide receivers coach Kerry Dixon II have recruited him weekly — and at times daily — since his freshman year, which is quite a time investment.
But those efforts helped Florida top Alabama for the top-50 overall recruit from the Sunshine State after missing on Jerry Jeudy and Alex Leatherwood last year.
The Gators have needs at safety and linebacker in this cycle, and that’s why 4-star athlete Amari Burney — who could also contribute on offense and as a returner — was such a key recruit for the staff. He chose Florida over Ohio State.
The importance of quarterback Matt Corral goes without saying.
Offensive tackle Richard Gouraige is another prospect who falls under the must-get category. Clemson and Florida are the finalists for his services, which will be needed at UF in the near future.
Gouraige has always been a top target for the Gators, but recent developments at the position have made him an even bigger priority on their recruiting board.
Junior left tackle Martez Ivey has a chance to turn pro after this year, though he won’t make a decision on the NFL until receiving his draft grade. Florida was counting on Jake Fruhmorgen to start in 2018 in the event Ivey leaves, but he quit the team less than a week after transferring from Clemson.
And a third lineman could soon be gone.
True freshman Kadeem Telfort is one of the nine suspended players and faces up to 30 charges for alleged credit card fraud. He was the No. 3-ranked offensive tackle in the 2017 class and one of just two OL signees last year, so his dismissal would decimate Florida’s depth at tackle.
With Fruhmorgen’s departure and the possible losses of Ivey and Telfort, the Gators need to sign someone who has the talent and potential of those three players.
UF offensive line coach Brad Davis has his sights set on Gouraige.
The 6-foot-5, 283-pound prospect is a consensus top-150 overall recruit and earned more than 35 offers in his recruitment. He narrowed his choices to Clemson and Florida this week.
Battling the Tigers on the recruiting trail is no easy task, but the Gators went head-to-head with Clemson and landed another elite Tampa prospect in 4-star defensive end Zachary Carter.
He was also must-get for McElwain, who has made a concerted effort to improve Florida’s recruiting results in Tampa with area recruiter Chris Rumph. Last year the staff signed three players from the talent-rich city for the first time in more than a decade.
That trend needs to continue with Gouraige. It’s been seven years since UF signed an offensive tackle from Tampa, and he now starts for the Dallas Cowboys.
The Gators beat out rival FSU for Chaz Green back in 2010, and now they need to outlast the defending national champs to land Gouraige.
Gotta beat the big boys to play on the big stage.
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.