GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jim McElwain needs a strong finish in the Class of 2017, but this isn’t new territory for him.
His transition class at Florida was also a sprint to the National Signing Day, and McElwain made it across the finish line with impressive results.
When he became Florida’s coach in December 2014, McElwain started with only six commitments and a 2015 class that was ranked 92nd nationally.
But in the last two weeks of the recruiting cycle, McElwain and his staff hosted 24 prospects and landed pledges from 15 of those official visitors.
Almost half of the commitments (7) came on signing day, including 3-star WR Antonio Callaway, 5-star DE Cece Jefferson and 5-star OL Martez Ivey. A day earlier, the Gators beat out Florida State and Miami for 4-star RB Jordan Scarlett.
UF shot up the team rankings with that huge haul, finishing with the No. 21 class in the country. Of the 20 signees, eight played in games as a true freshman and made a total of 28 starts.
Last season, 18 of the 20 signees from McElwain’s first class saw action and started 72 games in 2016. So in total, the Gators have gotten 100 starts from that group over the past two years.
In addition to Callaway, Jefferson, Ivey and Scarlett, six other players have become full-time starters on the team. That’s a lot of value coming from half of the class in a short time.
McElwain doesn’t have a lot of time to salvage Florida’s 2017 class, which is currently ranked 24th, but potential commitments are still there for the taking.
The Gators have hosted eight targets over the last two weekends, and they’ll bring in more than a dozen next weekend. Of the 20 visitors, 15 are rated 4-star recruits.
Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports composite.