BEAVERTON, Ore. — The Florida Gators continue to pursue Alabama commit Alex Leatherwood, and their efforts will be rewarded this month.
The 5-star offensive tackle from Washington High School (Pensacola, Fla.) will take a trip to Gainesville, Fla., on July 22 for Friday Night Lights, the Gators’ biggest recruiting weekend of the summer. He called Florida his No. 2 school Saturday at The Opening, Nike’s annual summer football camp for elite prospects.
“They keep recruiting me hard,” Leatherwood said of the Gators. “I just like the direction the program is going. I really like the coaching staff and I want to spend more time with them on my visit.”
Leatherwood last visited Florida for its spring game. Gators coach Jim McElwain and offensive line coach Mike Summers are the leading the charge in Leatherwood’s recruitment.
“I talk to Coach Mac daily,” he said. “That means a lot because I believe I’m a priority by him doing that. His message to me is to stay in Florida, play for the home state team and make an impact.”
Summers was the first coach to offer Leatherwood in May of 2015, a move that’s playing into Florida’s favor. He worked out with Summers last month when UF held a satellite camp at his high school.
“I really like his coaching style and how he deals with players,” Leatherwood said. “He’s a teacher. He doesn’t just tell you what to do. He breaks it down into bits and pieces to explain why you do this. He’s just a really good coach.”
Leatherwood is ranked the nation’s No. 5 offensive tackle and No. 20 overall prospect. He plans to officially visit Alabama, Michigan and Southern Cal in the fall, with his other two trips still to be determined.
The Under Armour All-American seems solid to Alabama, but the Gators remain in the mix for his signature.
“There’s not really something they need to do to flip me,” Leatherwood said. “They’ve shown what they have to offer. Now it’s just on me to make the decision of where I fit best.”
Unless otherwise indicated, rankings and ratings come from the 247Sports Composite.
Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.