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 UF recruiting news, tales from the trail and perspective on what it all means for the Gators.
Harrison Bailey made headlines last year when some of the nation’s premier college football programs offered the eighth-grade quarterback.
One of those schools was UF. Harrison competed in Florida’s Atlanta satellite camp on June 15. Gators coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordiantor Doug Nussmeier offered him the following day.
Despite being from Marietta, Ga., Bailey actually grew up rooting for the Gators.
“I remember seeing Florida play in the SEC Championship Game and Tim Tebow make a bunch of good plays,” Bailey said. “Just Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer, when they were together, that made me a fan.”
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect told SEC Country he has visited Florida five times during his recruitment. He plans to return Friday to attend the Orange & Blue Debut and spend time with the UF coaches.
“I just want to see where I stand with them,” Bailey said. “And just get to visit with the staff again, Coach McElwain and Coach Nuss.”
Since his offer from the Gators, schools such as Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Oklahoma have followed suit. Bailey is up to 13 offers, including seven SEC programs.
“Right now it’s hard to separate schools because they all mean something to me at my age,” Bailey said. “I’ll probably commit at the start of my junior year or before.”
His decision is more than a year away, but Bailey already has some determining factors in mind. His recruitment is expected to be a Florida-Georgia battle.
“I’m definitely looking at the quarterback position, even though I do like to compete,” Bailey said. “Having to compete with somebody wouldn’t be really a big deal. I’m also looking at location and coaching staff.”
Bailey was named a MaxPreps Freshman All-American in 2016. He finished last season with 2,812 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
Peach State passers
The state of Georgia is having quite a run recently producing top-flight quarterbacks.
The Class of 2017 featured the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 pro-style passers, according the 247Sports Composite rankings, in 5-star Stanford signee Davis Mills (Norcross, Ga.) and Georgia signee Jake Fromm (Warner Robins, Ga.).
The top overall prospect for 2018, 5-star Clemson commit Trevor Lawrence (Cartersville, Ga.), headlines this year’s class along with 5-star Penn State commit Justin Fields (Kennesaw, Ga.) and Ohio State commit Emory Jones (Franklin, Ga.). Fields and Jones are ranked the No. 1 and No. 2 dual-threat quarterbacks, respectively.
Bailey is projected to be the latest 5-star quarterback from the Peach State, which has also produced Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.