GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A trio of Florida commits visited UF last weekend and had the opportunity to met with Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin.
In early November, Stricklin joined interim coach Randy Shannon on his weekly recruiting calls and spoke to several class members regarding their commitments and the coaching search. Stricklin even gave out his number to prospects.
Stricklin took his recruiting efforts a step further Saturday when he approached visitors at the Florida-UAB game.
“He came up to me,” UF safety commit Jaleel McRae said. “I guess he knew me.”
Probably so. McRae is a top-50 overall recruit in the Class of 2019 and ranks No. 4 nationally at his position, according to the 247Sports Composite.
He was Florida’s first 2019 commitment and had a close relationship with former coach Jim McElwain. Despite his departure, McRae is still solid with the Gators and has confidence in Stricklin.
“He’s a good man,” McRae said of the Florida AD. “He told me, ‘Just be patient. We’re going to get you a coach who will lead for you and be another father figure to you.’
“He called me the leader of the class and he told me to keep being a leader. It was great to hear from him. It means a lot that he took time out his day to come talk to me.”
Stricklin also met with a pair of 2018 class members in 4-star running back Dameon Pierce and 4-star linebacker David Reese. Their primary recruiters (Ja’Juan Seider and Tim Skipper) are also their future position coaches, so both commits hope to see them retained.
“He told me they’re working on picking the best guy possible and keeping as much of the staff as they can,” Reese said of his meeting with Stricklin.
Pierce is an early enrollee and plans to stick with the Gators as long as Seider stays on staff.
“I talked to Scott Stricklin and he’s a great guy,” Pierce said. “I think he understands the importance of Coach Seider being here for me. It was just a meet and great. That was my first time seeing him. He said he’s glad I’m a Gator and wished me luck.”