Caleb Tannor will land with an SEC program – that much is nearly certain. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess where Tannor will take his talents.
After taking an official visit over the weekend with the Gators, the 6-foot-3.5, 225-pounder out of Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove still has three official visits remaining before Feb. 7, but even he seems unsure of how the process will play out.
While Auburn and Georgia remain the two programs with seemingly the highest likelihood of signing the outside linebacker/defensive end prospect, the Bulldogs might not get an official visit despite being committed earlier in the cycle to the program from his home state.
“I really enjoyed it down here. Good visit, I’ll take my next official visit and after that it should be decision time,” Tannor said Sunday after his official visit in Gainesville. “I’m going to do it on Signing Day, but I’m going to know by a week after (now). Nobody else is going to know, but I’m going to know.”
Florida’s previous staff under coach Jim McElwain and defensive coordinator Randy Shannon previously offered Tannor last year, but there was significant ground to be made up already: he already held multiple SEC offers and was setting up unofficial visits around the conference, and the Gators never seriously pushed for his commitment.
— Caleb Tannor 1️⃣® (@cvleb10) January 21, 2018
Yet after being re-offered by Florida coach Dan Mullen and linebackers coach Christian Robinson, the Gators appear to be back in the mix for Tannor, ranked the No. 19 weakside defensive end by 247Sports.
“The whole coaching staff, defensive coaching staff came by to Atlanta, so it was just a big thing for me. So I just had to come show them some love,” Tannor said. “They said I was a big factor, they need people in my position, my type.”
Like most programs recruiting him, the Gators envision Tannor as the rush linebacker in the revamped 3-4 defense under defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, and on Sunday the coaching staff spent time in the film room with Tannor showing him just how he would be used on the field, which he called the highlight of his trip.
“That’s (the position) I want to play. I like running around a lot, too,” he said. “I liked it, so I’m going to be running around a lot.”
Furthermore, Robinson’s age helped connect on a level with Tannor that Florida’s previous coaching staff couldn’t.
“I liked him, he was cool. He was young, so he’s real cool with it,” Tannor said with a smile. “A real chill person.”
And Tannor was made aware of the work cut out for the current Gators when he toured Ben Hill Griffin Stadium early Saturday. In the final day of “hell week” under new strength and conditioning coordinator Nick Savage, Florida’s roster spent the morning running every set of stairs in The Swamp.
“It’s the whole team, and the whole team splits into different groups. Each group got one long rope, and they’re running up the stairs, up the stadium stairs,” Tannor explained. “If you drop the rope, it’s over (for you). It’s up and down the stairs, all around the stadium.”
Asked if that “scared him away” from possibly signing with the Gators, he was adamant it was a positive rather than a detractor.
“No, I’m ready to work,” Tannor said. “(This trip) helped, so, just now all the schools that visit that’s where I’m going to decide (from).”
With just over two weeks until he puts pen to paper, Tannor will evaluate his final visits on a day-by-day basis with his Miller Grove coach, and he intends to take visits each of the next two visits. Tannor does know which schools are in the running to get the last shot at landing him, however.
“Probably Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, Tennessee. Wherever I’m feeling,” Tannor revealed, before adding he knows what he’s looking for in a program. “Somewhere that I visit and they felt like home the most, and somewhere that has a good opportunity for after football. Because I’m not going to be doing this my whole life.”