As Jim McElwain tries to rebuild Florida football into a championship program, one of his mottos is “recruit daily or die.” Join us here on SEC Country for a daily recap of the latest Florida recruiting news, tales from the trail and perspective on what it all means for the Gators.
Jim McElwain has Gators rolling in recruiting
Friday Night Lights was not a fluke.
Florida’s recruiting run is real and it’s not finished. With 4-star running back Dameon Pierce‘s pledge on Sunday, the Gators’ 2018 class now ranks second in the SEC and No. 7 nationally, according to the 247Sports composite.
Just 19 days ago, the class was 62nd in the country. Six of Florida’s top seven commits have joined since then.
McElwain is now approaching Urban Meyer territory with this class. Eleven commits in 11 days and the major additions of 4-star wide receiver Jacob Copeland and Pierce — as well as the likelihood of Florida landing most of its top remaining targets — could be enough for the Gators to eventually challenge Ohio State for the No. 1 spot.
Even if they don’t, this likely will be a top-3 class for McElwain and one of Florida’s best since the Meyer era. Now in his third full recruiting cycle, McElwain is on top of his game.
“This whole deal is about relationships, all right,” McElwain said when asked about his recent recruiting success. “There weren’t a lot of people that knew much about us, and I think what’s come to fruition is the honesty in which we talk to [recruits].
“Our current players relay that to them, that what they’re saying is true. It’s not made up and when you get here it’s different. And I think that’s made a huge difference. I think the high school coaches, they know this is who I am and this is what I’m all about.”
McElwain’s coaching hires are also making a huge difference on the trail. Corey Bell, Brad Davis and Ja’Juan Seider have upgraded Florida’s recruiting ability as a staff, and returning assistants Kerry Dixon II, Tim Skipper, Doug Nussmeier and Greg Nord are each having their best year of recruiting at UF.
Randy Shannon has been, well, Randy Shannon. He and Chris Rumph have a chance to flip 4-star defensive linemen Andrew Chatfield (Ohio State) and Nesta Silvera (Miami), who are teammates at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla.
Every UF assistant coach has helped land at least two commitments at his position or served as the primary recruiter for at least two commits. Florida’s support staff, led by director of player personnel Drew Hughes, is now one of the nation’s best.
And with just under six months until National Signing Day, the Gators hold 17 commitments and have already met the majority of their recruiting needs for this class.
“Obviously we’ve got guys that are really working at it, and yet we always have,” McElwain said. “But it takes some time to develop that. I think the support of our administration has been great with the things that are about to happen in the future.
“I think right now, there’s just that general vibe. [Recruits] understand that when they become a Gator, Coach is going to take care of you. And even when you’re gone, Coach is going to take care of you. I think that’s something that’s really important.”
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.