GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The postponement of Florida-LSU not only cost the Gators a home game Saturday, but their biggest recruiting weekend of the season.
UF had more than two dozen prospects scheduled to be in attendance, including 5-star wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (Detroit) and 5-star Alabama offensive tackle commit Alex Leatherwood (Pensacola, Fla.).
Peoples-Jones was officially visiting Florida along with 4-star linebacker Anthony Hines from Plano, Texas. They both spent the weekend with Urban Meyer’s Ohio State program instead.
“Two guys we had to cancel official visits that ended up going to Ohio State, conveniently for them,” Gators coach Jim McElwain said. “But there was no way. You couldn’t get in and out. The campus was totally closed with people preparing for the aftermath of what (Hurricane Matthew) could have done.
“There was no way. That was the least of our worries. For their safety and the safety of the people around, that was a no-brainer.”
Peoples-Jones and Hines plan to reschedule their trips to UF, but they won’t get to see an electric atmosphere in The Swamp if the LSU matchup isn’t rescheduled. Their other options to attend a game will be Missouri, South Carolina and Presbyterian, and none of those teams will draw a sellout crowd.
McElwain admits it will hurt not being able to provide that kind of environment for recruits, but that wasn’t his concern this past weekend.
“The picture of life, you know,” McElwain said. “Yeah, we missed a lot (by not hosting recruits). And yet, why don’t we go walk through the aftermath of some of this and ask, ‘How important was that?’ We can make up an official visit.”