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.
William Barnes sees fight in Florida offense
William Barnes was one of several elite recruits at the Florida-Tennessee game Saturday, which ended with a miraculous touchdown pass by the Gators on the final play.
Barnes, a 4-star offensive tackle from Apopka, Fla., said being in attendance was the best experience he’s ever had. For more recruit reaction, read here.
Barnes has visited Florida a few times this year, but his latest trip will leave a lasting impression.
“It bumped them up a lot more,” Barnes said when asked how Saturday’s visit benefited the Gators. “Just talking with the coaches and the players, it definitely feels a lot more like home every time I come here.
“It was just the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt (at the game). That’s definitely something that opened my eyes up about Florida. The fans are just fantastic people.”
Florida’s offense made some plays against Tennessee, but once again struggled with consistency and sustaining drives. However, Barnes saw some positives from the unit and its offensive line.
“They never stopped. They never hung their heads,” Barnes said. “They kept on moving the ball, even though it seemed like every fourth down they’d be off the field. They kept on fighting for it and came out with the win.
“(The O-line) struggled at times, but all offensive lines really do. I think they just kept it together. They didn’t fall apart. They didn’t make too many major mistakes. And other than those, I think they did pretty well.”
National Signing Day is still the commitment date for Barnes, who has Florida in his top 7 along with Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio State.
Gators offensive line coach Brad Davis serves as his primary recruiter, and Barnes was impressed by him Saturday.
“In game situations, he stays calm. He doesn’t freak out,” Barnes said of Davis. “He stays under control with the O-line. Just watching him do his thing on the sideline, I think he’s a great coach.”
Ed Montilus comfortable with Brad Davis
Barnes’ teammate at Apopka High School, Gators OL target Ed Montilus, also attended the game and came away impressed.
The 3-star guard was offered by Davis during the evaluation period and built a relationship with him over the spring and summer.
“It was great talking to him again,” Montilus said. “I’m more comfortable with him now because we talk more. Our conversations get more personal, too. I get to know him, he gets to know me.”
North Carolina is seemingly the biggest threat for Barnes and Montilus, who also plans to decide on signing day.
“I’m getting closer and closer to that point,” Montilus said. “I think Florida is a pretty good school and I could really fit in here. … It was a good experience (Saturday). I saw the way they fought back.
“It was tied up and about to go into overtime, but they had an extra play and they just made it. They never quit. They just kept going and kept going, and they made a play at the end.”
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.