GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coaches have taken advantage of the bye week by visiting some of their top remaining targets for the Class of 2017.
The staff has seen the likes of 5-star wide receivers Donovan People-Jones and Jerry Jeudy (Alabama commit) as well as 4-star safeties Devon Hunter and Xavier McKinney.
UF coach Jim McElwain was off the road Wednesday afternoon for his team’s practice. He also met with the media and discussed the importance of being able to hit the recruiting trail this week.
“We’re missing out on a couple pretty good weekends that, you know, were going to be important,” McElwain said, referring to the lost recruiting weekends for LSU and Presbyterian. “Here’s what’s really cool, I told the team yesterday, people outside of here are really excited about the Gators and what we’re doing. They see all the things and where we’re at.
“It’s fun to see that, here’s the Gators, right? And they know how we’re doing it and where we’re going. With that I think the response from the people within the schools — be it the head coach or the principals, the advisers we talk to — they’re great. The power of that Gator brand, man, it’s pretty cool.”
When McElwain shows up in classrooms with the Florida logo on his shirt, he knows it carries weight and gets everyone’s attention. And since he nor his assistants can speak to the recruits during the evaluation period, the impression they leave on those around them can go a long way.
“I think anytime you’ve got people in an authority position (it helps),” McElwain said. “We can’t talk to the kids, but I know that their energy rubs off or their beliefs rub off on them in someway. It was just like getting back at whatever time we got back (Tuesday) for team meeting to go to practice.
“Just what we were able to see on the road, from a standpoint of the excitement of what’s going on at Florida. And then to see our guys go jump in on a Tuesday practice on bye week and (show it), that was alright.”
Hines high on Florida after visit
Another prospect who received a visit from the staff this week is Anthony Hines, the nation’s No. 2 inside linebacker from Plano, Texas.
Hines officially visited UF over the weekend and enjoyed his first time in Gainesville.
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SEC Country was not able to reach Hines after his trip, but the 4-star recruit spoke highly of the Gators to Scout.com.
Hines was impressed with McElwain and the input he’s had on the facility upgrades. The football program received an indoor practice facility last August and will open a stand-alone football complex next year.
“They are going to break ground on a new facility in January,” Hines told Scot. “And proof of that is that Coach McElwain proposed an indoor and just five months later it was built. It was the biggest and best indoor that I have seen.”
The Gators pitched early playing time to Hines and their need for linebackers. He was impressed with the play of Alex Anzalone and Jarrad Davis in the Missouri game.
“The two middle linebackers were flying around, 34 and 40, filling gaps and going sideline-to-sideline,” Hines said. “If one guy missed a gap then the other guy had his back, so that system is definitely built for linebackers.”
Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite.