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.
Milton or bust?
Though National Signing Day is more than 10 months away, the clock is ticking for Florida when it comes to 2018 quarterback recruiting.
All of the nation’s top prospects at the position will likely be committed in the coming months, and many of them already are. The Gators are still searching for a quarterback to build their class around and attract other offensive players in this cycle.
Last Tuesday, Florida coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier decided to offer 4-star QB Joe Milton from Orlando, Fla., after spending the day with during his first visit to UF.
Milton returned to the Florida campus last Friday and the Gators appear to the team to beat in his recruitment. He has blown up over the past month, landing 12 offers in four weeks and earning a 4-star rating from 247Sports and Rivals.
The 6-foot-5, 222-pound prospect told SEC Country he plans to make his decision at the end of spring. Milton has also visited Florida State and Georgia in recent days, but the Seminoles have yet to offer him.
If that happens, FSU would be the biggest threat to the Gators. UGA and Michigan are considered Milton’s other favorites, but Florida was his dream school growing up and also has proximity to home on its side.
At this time, Milton is Florida’s best chance at landing a top-flight signal caller for 2018. He’s ranked the nation’s No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the 247Sports Composite.
Florida has offered a total of seven quarterbacks in the 2018 recruiting cycle. Three committed to other schools after receiving an offer from the Gators, though they stopped pursuing new Miami (Fla.) pledge Artur Sitkowski (IMG Academy) in January.
Uncommitted 4-star quarterbacks Dorian Thompson-Robinson (Las Vegas) and Dakereon Joyner (North Charleston, S.C.) don’t have Florida in the mix for their services. That leaves Penn State QB commit Justin Fields from Kennesaw, Ga.
Fields, a 4-star recruit and the nation’s No. 3 dual-threat quarterback, was offered by Florida on Feb. 21 after winning QB MVP of The Opening Regional in Orlando. Fields spoke highly of the Gators afterward and told SEC Country he wants to check out Florida.
However, if he doesn’t visit Gainesville by the spring game or show serious interest, the staff can’t afford to hold off on Milton with hopes that Fields will flip. The same can be said about Cameron Rising, an Oklahoma commit from Newbury Park, Calif.
A 4-star quarterback prospect, Rising told 247Sports last week he wants an offer from the Gators, and those comments have presumably been brought to the staff’s attention. However, Rising must take the initiative to visit Florida this spring to actually get the wheels going.
McElwain & Co. need to see there’s a legitimate shot with Rising before they decide to pursue him and potentially jeopardize their recruitment of other quarterbacks.
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.