Florida now has a new head football coach, and on signing day in two months, he’ll receive a ton of praise for the recruits UF brings in.
And deservedly so.
With just seven verbal commitments at this time, it’s going to take some serious work by Jim McElwain to salvage what’s been a disappointing 2015 class for the Gators thus far.
Fortunately for him, the recruiting efforts of Florida’s 10 assistants over the last three weeks will make his job easier.
Since Will Muschamp was let go and stopped recruiting on Nov. 16, those staff members have been the only line of communication between high school players and the UF football program.
They spent the first two weeks following Muschamp’s firing taking phone calls from recruits and messaging them through Facebook and Twitter, on a daily basis in some cases. And although they’re under contract into January, getting paid doesn’t diminish how difficult it is for them to carry out their job duties when they don’t know where or even if they’ll be employed after the new year.
What they’re going through is one of the few negatives about the coaching profession. But from a recruiting standpoint, and presumably all other areas of the job, they’ve handled themselves professionally and with class.
While Gator Nation was glued to Twitter this week watching Florida’s coaching search play out, all 10 assistants were visiting high schools and the homes of recruits every day. More than 60 prospects (see list) were seen by director of player personnel Drew Hughes and coaches D.J. Durkin, Coleman Hutzler, Brad Lawing, Chris Leak, Derek Lewis, Travaris Robinson, Kurt Roper, Mike Summers and Brian White.
Those guys haven’t just been collecting a pay check. They went all out in the contact period despite not being able to tell recruits whether or not they’ll be at UF next season.
Had they not worked the phones and hit the road, those kids would have went three weeks without hearing positive things about Florida or having the Gator logo in their face.
Some of those coaches will stay on staff with McElwain, some won’t. But all of them deserve credit for keeping the school and football program alive in the minds of recruits.
Otherwise, UF would have been dead to them by now.