Florida coaches raid recruiting trail
There was no break for Florida coach Jim McElwain and his staff following Saturday’s loss in the SEC Championship.
After all, the importance of recruiting was evident after Alabama physically dominated the Gators.
“That’s what big, strong, highly recruited guys do,” McElwain said of the Tide. “That’s why we’re getting on the road as soon as we leave right now.”
The contact period began on Nov. 29, but McElwain & Co. did not hit the recruiting trail last week as they prepared for the conference title game.
They’ll be out in full force this week until the month-long dead period starts Dec. 14.
McElwain’s first stop Sunday was Alabama verbal commitment Eddy Pineiro of ASA College. Ranked the No. 1 junior college kicker, the Miami (Fla.) native officially visited Florida for the weekend of the Florida State game. Pineiro will be making a final decision between Alabama and Florida before he enrolls in January.
McElwain saw Pineiro with area recruiter Kerry Dixon II. They ended their day in Cocoa, where they had an in-home visit with Florida cornerback commit Chauncey Gardner, one of nine current early enrollees for the Gators.
Defensive line coach Chris Rumph traveled to Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy for 5-star defensive tackle Shavar Manuel. He also attended the FSU game and plans to return for an official visit to Florida.
Defensive coordinator Geoff Collins checked in on Elbert County (Ga.) athlete Mecole Hardman Jr., another 5-star in the 247Sports Composite, as well as Georgia linebacker commit and U.S. Army All-American Jaleel Laguins of Watkinsville (Ga.) Oconee County. The Gators are hoping the coaching change at UGA can help them flip Hardman and Laguins.
Secondary coach Kirk Callahan spent Sunday in Dade City (Fla.) with Pasco 4-star cornerback Jayvaughn Myers, who decommitted from Florida last Monday, but is still considering the school.
Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier had an in-home visit with quarterback commit Kyle Trask of Manvel (Texas), while running backs coach Tim Skipper went to Dodge City C.C. in Kansas for early enrollee Mark Thompson, the No. 1-ranked junior college running back.
Linebackers coach Randy Shannon saw a fourth midyear recruit for Florida, athlete Dre Massey of Goodman (Miss.) Holmes C.C., as well as two Houston (Texas) products in linebacker Dontavious Jackson and offensive tackle Braden Kopp, a Vanderbilt verbal.
McElwain is set to visit three Florida pledges Monday, two of whom are signees along with Gardner. McElwain will see wide receiver Josh Hammond (Hallandale) with Dixon and receiver/tight end Isaiah Johnson (West Palm Beach Dwyer) with Nussmeier.
McElwain then travels to Pahokee with Callahan to try and solidify the commitment of cornerback McArthur Burnett, who’s visited Auburn and Louisville in recent weeks.
— Eddy Pineiro (@eddypineiro1) December 6, 2015
— Chauncey Gardner II. (@StillDat_) December 7, 2015
— Kyle Trask (@ktrask9) December 7, 2015