Florida’s resolve in its win over Tennessee on Saturday appears to already be paying dividends on the recruiting trail.
Lyndell Wilson, the No. 1 outside linebacker in the country, confirmed to the AJC’s SECCountry.com that the Gators are his sole leader.
“It showed me that Florida is not the type of school that’ll lay down and just give up,” Wilson told the AJC’s SECCountry.com. “They showed what type of team they are. They’re a team that’ll get after you. That’s a big thing in what I look at with schools. I want to surround myself with guys who are going to go get it instead of having things handed to them.”
The 5-star linebacker from Carver-Montgomery High School (Montgomery, Ala.) was originally scheduled to take an unofficial visit to Gainesville last weekend but was unable to make the trip at the last minute. However, Wilson did take an unofficial visit to Florida in August. It appears the coaching staff made a lasting impression.
“It’s a great school to be at and they have a great coaching staff,” Wilson said. “(Coach) Jim McElwain is a great head coach. I feel like it’s a place I can go in and definitely play. It’s a great city and team overall.”
It’s also worth noting that Wilson’s best friend, Jeawon Taylor, is a 3-star safety who committed to Florida in August. Taylor is located a few miles east of Carver-Montgomery at Park Crossing High School, but the two have remained best friends since childhood.
“He’s committed to Florida,” Wilson said. “He tells me a lot about Florida and I looked into it. I talked to the coaches and I feel like it’s a school that’ll best fit me.”
As it stands, the Gators are relatively thin at linebacker, which could work in their favor in securing Wilson’s signature come February. Florida has yet to land a commitment at the position in next year’s class, and the chance for immediate playing time is appealing to Wilson.
“Nobody wants to sit around their freshman year,” Wilson said. “Everybody wants to go and make a name for themselves. It doesn’t really matter to me. Going in as a freshman, I’m going in with an attitude to take something. I have to take my spot and I have to earn respect. That’s my mindset.”
Wilson also listed LSU, Ole Miss and Alabama among his finalists. The Crimson Tide’s position, though, is interesting to note. According to 247Sports.com’s Crystal Ball predictions, Wilson has long been considered a strong Alabama lean, but the program is listed at No. 4. Wilson said he’s developed a close relationship with defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and coach Nick Saban throughout his recruitment and acknowledged that his family roots for Alabama.
But he maintained that he has to make a decision for himself.
“Alabama is one of those schools I grew up rooting for,” Wilson said. “A majority of my family roots for them. My mother loves Alabama to death. It’s something that I’ll have to face all my life no matter which school I go to. When it comes down to it, it’ll be a family decision on what school I attend. I want my family to be happy with wherever I go. But most of all, I’m the person that’s going to the school. But I don’t want my mom feeling a certain way with whichever school I pick.”
Wilson says each school has a fighter’s chance over the next few months. He has yet to schedule his official visits, but he’ll likely take one to Florida later this season. He has every intention to announce his decision on National Signing Day.