About a month ago it seemed as if Florida was getting pity from every corner of the college football nation. The hiring of Jim McElwain had put Florida behind in the whole process. But slowly and surely, McElwain hired a staff that knew the state and could get places where Florida hadn’t been in a while.
“I think our guys worked their tail off getting out there and getting to as many places as we could and breaking some doors down,” he said this afternoon in Gainesville.
Florida built some momentum and the signings of Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson put the Gators into a spot on the recruiting list that they never thought they be in at this point. From somewhere in the middle of the pack, Florida has vaulted into the top 25 and perhaps even higher. McElwain deserves most of the credit for putting together a staff that could understand recruiting in the state and he leaned on his experience doing the same when he was an assistant at Louisville.
He was quick to point out that it was more than just playing ability that he considers a fit for Florida. “Fit the character mode, the leadership mode that we were looking for as we built this class.”
Florida did not sign a quarterback but McElwain said he’s holding a few scholarships for late commitments. But he added he likes the quarterbacks on the current roster. “Obviously it’s a position that you recruit every year. I feel really good about our quarterbacks.”
McElwain said he leaned on his experience putting together a “transition” recruiting class at Colorado State. Even though he was without a wide receivers coach who he says will be joining the Gators shortly.
As usual, McElwain had his sense of humor intact, especially when talking about players de-committing and “flipping.”
“Hey Coach, you got a silent verbal,” he explained as some of the language recruits use during the process. “I believe that’s an oxymoron, is it not? You guys (the media) call them commitments, I think maybe reservations is probably the way to put it.”
And the Gators head coach admitted that because of social media there’s a lot more attention paid to the process. “It’s been a lifelong deal. It just happens to be maybe a little more pizzazz today than it was years ago.”