GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Alabama edged Florida for a few Sunshine State prospects this year, but there’s one recruit the Crimson Tide couldn’t turn.
Zachary Carter, a 4-star defensive end from Tampa, Fla., committed to the Gators over Clemson last summer. Alabama, however, offered Carter on Nov. 18 and coach Nick Saban has been trying to get him on campus.
He planned to take a trip to Tuscaloosa in January, but that’s no longer the case following his official visit to UF this weekend.
“I’m shutting it down,” said Carter, who is Florida’s top-rated pledge. “I feel like I found the right fit for me. I know it would be fun to visit some other places, but it’s not a big deal to me like that.”
Doing everything they said I couldn't do but how about that orange, white, and blue ?? pic.twitter.com/Gwb3M8eheW
— Zachary L Carter (@_ZachAttacks) January 22, 2017
Carter also landed a recent offer from new Oregon coach Willie Taggart, who had been recruiting Carter to South Florida. Taggart’s replacement at USF, Charlie Strong, conducted an in-home visit with Carter last week.
But those coaches could not overcome the relationship he has with Florida coach Jim McElwain and defensive line coach Chris Rumph, his primary recruiter.
“They know I’m solid, so the recruiting part is really over,” Carter said. “Now, the message is more about me being prepared for everything that’s to come. During my visit I had a 1-on-1 meeting with coach Rumph and we watched film.
“Coach McElwain said he appreciates everything I do recruiting-wise for them. He noticed that when we sat down for dinner this weekend I usually sat with guys that were uncommitted because I like to talk to those guys.”
Like fellow Florida commit and Tampa product Daquon Green, who predicted some future commitments Sunday, Carter is confident the Gators can land the four uncommitted prospects they brought in this weekend.
“I think we’re going to get all four of the guys that visited,” Carter said with a laugh. “I’m predicating Nick Smith, T.J. Slaton and Elijah Conliffe. I think we’re getting C.J. Henderson. I feel like they’re just waiting. I actually think we get like 10 guys total on signing day, so it should be a good day.”