GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Heading into his Florida visit Saturday, Lorenzo Lingard had not listed the Gators as one of his top teams.
One trip changed that.
Lingard, a 5-star running back for 2018 from Orange City, Fla., was on hand for the 45-7 blowout win over Kentucky.
“This school showed me more,” Lingard said of UF. “I’m going to check them out more. (The visit) had a great impact on me.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound prospect now lists Florida among his leaders along with Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Miami. Despite moving the Gators up, Lingard has been interested in them throughout his recruitment.
“Florida has always been in the picture,” he said. “It was just me needing to get here and being comfortable with the players. Every time I get here I feel more comfortable.”
UF gained 244 yards on the ground against the Wildcats and five backs carried the ball, including true freshman Lamical Perine. He had a game-high 105 rushing yards and a 28-yard touchdown catch.
“It’s very encouraging to see that,” Lingard said of Perine’s performance. “Coach Mac has the heart to put guys out there that are freshmen. I like how he called the running game … it seemed like a fit for me.
“Coach Mac picks his rotation based off strengths and he puts players in to see if they get can the job done. It’s a positive move. … If I was here and I had those holes, it would’ve been at least 10 yards or a touchdown every time.”
Running backs coach Tim Skipper is Lingard’s primary recruiter and texts him regularly.
“This guy really wants me,” Lingard said. “He tells how great it would be for me to be a Gator and just how special it would be to fit in here. They would help me get a great education and pursue my dreams in the NFL.”
Lingard is ranked the nation’s No. 2 running back and No. 16 overall prospect for 2018. He plans to make take his time deciding, but an early commitment is possible.
“If I feel that spark,” he said.
DT Tyrone Truesdell names UF his leader
The Gators may not be done at defensive tackle in the 2017 recruiting cycle. They currently have three pledges at the position, but Tyrone Truesdell could join the commitment list next.
He named Florida his No. 1 school following his trip for the Kentucky game.
“After a visit like that, they’re kind of on top,” Truesdell said. “The last two visits have been memorable experiences.”
The 3-star defensive tackle from Augusta, Ga., visited UF last month. The only thing standing between him and a commitment is his family.
“They got me, so now they need to get my parents,” Truesdell said. “They just need to see if Florida’s got my best interests. They’re pretty much up there.”
The 6-foot-3, 325-pound prospect plans to bring them to UF for an official visit. He also wants to take trips to Auburn, Ole Miss and Louisville.
But those schools could have a difficult time overcoming Florida’s lead.
“It’s going to take a lot (to change that). Colleges will really have to step up,” Truesdell said. “Coach (Chris) Rumph knows what he’s talking about (on the defensive line), so I’ll be lucky to get any type of advice from him. Me and him have a good relationship. I talk to him pretty much every day.”