Chris Kirschner/SEC Country
The Florida Gators are actively recruiting 5-star quarterback prospect Justin Fields

ESPN: Florida’s biggest recruiting development revolves around Justin Fields

Welcome to another installment of Good Morning, Gators, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering Florida athletics with beat writer Jordan McPherson. Here’s a look at what you might have missed on Wednesday.

Biggest recruiting development

ESPN.com on Wednesday took a look into the biggest recruiting developments for each team in its preseason top-25. Florida’s development, like a couple other schools on the list, comes in the form of 5-star quarterback Justin Fields. The breakdown:

“Like at Florida State and Auburn, five-star quarterback Fields is the top target at Florida. The Peach State signal-caller would have an opportunity to play as a freshman in Gainesville, which is appealing. Should graduate transfer Malik Zaire win the job in Gainesville in August, redshirt freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask would have very little game experience headed into their third year, which is inviting for a five-star quarterback prospect with designs on early playing time. This is a huge recruitment for Jim McElwain and staff, because the dual-threat prospect will likely end up at hated rivals Florida State or Georgia (Auburn is a possibility, as well), should Fields pass on the Gators.”

In other Florida recruiting news:

The burning question for Florida football

ESPN.com’s Edward Aschoff compiled a list of burning questions for each SEC school heading into the 2017 football season. Florida’s question, somewhat unsurprisingly, was “Is Malik Zaire really the answer to the Gators’ quarterback and offense issues?” Aschoff’s explanation:

“It’s a new year and a new quarterback issue at Florida. The Gators went back to the graduate-transfer ranks to bring a quarterback to campus in former Notre Dame starter Malik Zaire. Zaire is an enigma because we really haven’t seen much of him. He’s played in 15 career games (more than any other UF quarterback on the roster), but an injury limited him to just two games in 2015 (after a breakout performance against Texas). He’s more mobile and experienced than any of Florida’s current quarterbacks, but is he the answer to a near-decade-old issue for the Gators?”

In other Florida football news:

Scott Stricklin reflects

With his first season as Florida’s athletic director in the rearview mirror, Scott Stricklin talked to SEC Country and reflected on what he called a special year.

Softball coaching moves

Florida softball announced Wednesday the hiring of Aric Thomas as the team’s new assistant coach. Thomas, a former assistant coach for Tennessee’s baseball team, replaces Sharonda McDonald, now the head coach for the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch.

Former outfielder Bailey Castro — who was part of both of the Gators’ national championship teams in 2014 and 2015 — was named head coach at Palm Beach Atlantic on Wednesday after serving as an assistant coach there for the last two years.

In other softball news, five current and former Florida softball players will be competing for Team USA when the World Cup of Softball begins in Oklahoma City on Thursday.

Let’s keep talking

Want to keep the conversation going? Hop over to our free Florida message board. Sign up today and join the discussion here.

What they’re saying on Twitter

Tight end C’yontai Lewis

Shooting guard Egor Koulechov

Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte

Oversleep and miss a recent Good Morning, Gators? No worries. We have all our past editions here.