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 UF recruiting news, tales from the trail and perspective on what it all means for the Gators.
Latest on Justin Fields
Spring football concluded last Friday for 5-star quarterback Justin Fields, who led Harrison High School (Kennesaw, Ga.) to a 36-0 win in its spring game.
SEC Country was on hand and spoke with Fields afterward about his Penn State commitment and being recruited by other schools, including Florida.
Fields was offered by the Gators in March and has been the No. 1 QB target on their board since then. Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier evaluated Fields twice this spring and they communicate regularly.
However, Nussmeier isn’t the only UF assistant in contact with Fields.
“At least five (Florida) coaches text me every day,” he said.
That includes Gators coach Jim McElwain, who has yet to solidify his quarterback position. The roster features a few talented passers, but they’re all young and inexperienced.
And until one of the them gets a stranglehold on the starting job, McElwain and Nussmeier will keep an open competition.
“They say they can [accomplish] big things with me and compete for a national championship,” Fields said. “They’re mainly saying that they’re just missing a quarterback. They have all the pieces to the puzzle. That’s their main message.”
That message is resonating with Fields, an Elite 11 finalist and the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 247Sports composite rankings. Fields said he likes Florida’s offensive system and has a good rapport with McElwain & Co., but his opportunity to play early trumps all.
“The most appealing thing about Florida is probably their quarterback room,” Fields said. “That helps them.”
UF isn’t the only program pursuing the Penn State pledge. Florida State and Georgia are on his trail, and Alabama offered in February.
Fields plans to take official visits this fall but hasn’t scheduled any trips yet. Asked when a final decision will have to be made, Fields wasn’t sure.
“I don’t really know. I haven’t thought about it,” Fields said. “It definitely has my mind spinning with all these schools coming at me. But it is definitely just a great feeling to get this recognition from these schools. … That is really what I always wanted.”
Despite that interest, Fields maintains he’s solid with the Nittany Lions. The Penn State commits are in a group chat and Fields said they text each other daily.
It will be important for Florida and others to develop a similar connection with Fields. Ultimately, his recruitment will come down to relationships.
“I know some great quarterbacks redshirt their freshman year just to learn the system and get a close relationship with the receivers. So, it’s not really a big factor, playing my first year,” Fields said. “The most important factor is how well I fit into the academics, how the family environment is there and just having a great relationship with the coaches.”
Fields’ father, Ivant Fields, is helping him handle the recruiting process. And while he offers his advice and opinions, he’s leaving the decision up to his son.
“I’ve spoken to the Florida coaches when they come by the school because I work there,” said Ivant Fields, a resource officer and retired policeman. “We exchanged pleasantries and they seem like pretty nice guys.
“We’re letting him work that [decision] out within himself. It’s part of being a man — evolving. He’s a young man on the brink of being a man, so he has to figure that out.”
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.