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.
Matt Corral already attracting recruits
With Matt Corral on board, Florida is off and running with its 2018 recruiting class.
Corral, a 5-star quarterback from Long Beach, Calif., is one of nine total pledges for the Gators this past week. The Elite 11 finalist made his decision Saturday following his first-ever visit to Florida for Friday Night Lights.
Less than 24 hours after Corral’s decision, the first domino fell on Florida’s recruiting board. Ja’Marr Chase, a 4-star wide receiver from Metairie, La., made a shocking commitment Sunday to the Gators. The coaches followed that up Monday by landing Miami WR Tyquan Thornton, who spurned his hometown Hurricanes for Florida.
The Gators weren’t even a finalist earlier this month for Chase, who was down to LSU and TCU before his scheduled announcement on NFL Network fell through. As a result, Chase extended his recruitment and did not want to rush into a decision.
This past weekend altered those plans.
A number of factors went into Chase’s commitment, including Florida’s receiver needs and his relationship with primary recruiter Tim Skipper and other staff members. However, Chase did not come to UF with the intent to pull the trigger and his pledge probably doesn’t happen if Corral is uncommitted right now.
They formed a friendship through the recruiting process and spent time together earlier this month at The Opening. Corral began recruiting players to Florida while in Gainesville, with Chase being one of his primary targets.
The addition of Corral undoubtedly encouraged Chase to jump on board, and some recruiting analysts viewed Miami as the favorite for Thornton heading into this weekend. Their commitments could be a sign of things to come with Corral now leading the class. He’s a confident, personable and talented quarterback who will attract offensive recruits.
“Matt is a great QB,” said 4-star WR Jacob Copeland, who plans to shoot a commitment video this week and has high interest in Alabama, Florida and Florida State. “He’s got a big arm and he can throw that deep ball. Then his attitude, he just got a winning mentality. I mean, as a receiver you want to play with a quarterback like that.”
Florida cracks the top 10
The recent additions put Florida’s 2018 class at No. 10 in the 247Sports Composite rankings, rising more than 40 spots since last Tuesday.
The Gators have 16 scholarships available for the 2018 class before attrition, but the team could lose up to four juniors and at least a couple transfers. Florida should be able to sign around 22 recruits in this cycle and currently holds 14 pledges.
UF has signed six wideouts before, but 3-star commits Corey Gammage and Jalynn Williams may consider other options if Copeland and/or Anthony Schwartz join the Gators’ receiver class. So Florida could potentially add 8-10 more recruits to its commitment list.
The Gators are in contention for 15 top-200 overall prospects, many of whom have UF at or near the top of their leaderboards. If Jim McElwain and his staff land half of those 15 remaining targets, Florida could finish with a top-5 class for the first time since 2013.
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.