Holland high on Shannon

Jeff Holland is ranked a top-100 overall recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Scout. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

ORLANDO — The addition of Randy Shannon to Florida’s new coaching staff could help the Gators in their pursuit of four-star linebacker Jeff Holland.

The former Miami coach recruited Holland when he was an assistant at Arkansas this past season.

“I actually know him pretty well,” Holland said. “I used to talk to him a lot when he was at Arkansas. He’s a really good guy and we created a bond. He also coached Ray Lewis at Miami, and I really liked that.”

Shannon is the only coach on Jim McElwain’s staff that Holland had a prior relationship with.

“I don’t know any of the other (new) coaches at Florida, so me knowing coach Shannon definitely helps them out,” Holland said. “He’s a great fit for Florida and he’s someone I could see myself playing for.”

The 6-foot-2, 226-pounder from Jacksonville Trinity Christian received an in-home visit from McElwain on the final day of the contact period last month.

“We had a great time,” Holland said. “We talked a lot and I was impressed with him. He actually said he wants to steal me for some offensive plays, so it was fun. He’s a smooth, laid back guy.”

Holland said he’s also talked to defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, who told the Under Armour All-American he’s a top priority.

“They’re only going to have like five guys next year at linebacker, so he really needs me to come in and make plays for him right away,” Holland said.

He plans to visit Auburn, Florida, Virginia Tech and UCLA before his signing day announcement. Having been to UF nearly a dozen times, his next trip to Gainesville will only have one objective.

“I just want to feel out the new coaches, see what kind of people they are,” Holland said. “I have to get to know them before I make my decision.”

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  1. Yeah, I just heard that too TAMPA. Matter of fact, fsu is losing a lot of their thug heroes… pregnant girlfriend beater Karlos Williams, the hit and run driver PJ Williams too. They lose the rapist, 4 starting Ol, RB Williams, TE O’Learly, and WR Greene all off offense from this past season. Gonna be a pleasure wtahcing fsu get their butts whipped several times next season.

  2. The BUCK position will remain with Collins/Shannon, so that’s no problem for Holland. And UF has a steady stream of DE/LB’s going on to the NFL. Early playing time, GREAT coaches, and a UF degree is there for him if he’s smart and want it….

  3. Hey Tampa, I watched Holland against Buford HS this past season and agree, he will need to learn the LB position. On a positive note, he can rush the passer. He will be an asset with his speed and athletic ability as a blitzing / pass rushing LB. The good news is, he will have a few returning players ahead of him so he will have time to learn as he comes in and makes plays as a pass rusher. He looks to be better than RoPo was at this stage.

  4. Homer J, I could be wrong but wasn’t RoPo the number one overall recruit coming out of high school, and you think Holland is better than he was at this stage? I didn’t see either play HS ball so I don’t know. Just wondering what makes you think he is better.

  5. I agree that he needs to work on his coverage skills, but he may be the best in this class of coming off the edge in pass rush situations. He is also very versatile as well. Trinity Christian used him at several positions on both sides of the ball. If he were to not pan out at LB or DE, with his hands he might develop into a Jordan Reed type tight end.

  6. Jeff Holland is bright, articulate, athletically gifted and from one of the nation’s elite programs. Terrific prospect. Can play early off the edge for Florida while his coverage skills grow. Excellent coaches , Collins and Shannon, will mold him. He gets away from home for college , yet little more than 70 miles from home, family and friends . Has the look of a Florida Gator to me.

  7. Looks good to me, hopefully we can get him. I feel like maybe coach Mac and his staff has a good feel for some of the recruits, and maybe finish with a good class. Good to hear Morrison ang back. Possibly a couple more after they find out where they stand draft wise. That will help take a little pressure off and help anchor some good positions. Fowlers back up looked good in the bowl game. GO GATORS////

  8. This kid is a big, fast, hard hitting, mean old school linebacker. Recruiting sites are idiots. I don’t know any LB’s coming out of high school with good cover skills. This kid is exactly the kind of head hunter we need, ala Morrison or Taylor…and he should stay a mean, big run stuffing LB in college… I hope we get him… Go Gators!

  9. The Randy Shannon hire was a home run.After the bunt single hire of Nessmeir for offensive coordinator it was a welcome sight .When you look at Ness when he was at Washington and the worst offense I’ve ever seen at Michigan last year it doesn’t give gator fans a good feeling .Especially when he will have a thin offensive line no proven qb wide receivers that can’t catch a cold and as yet not one decent wide receiver coach he will have more like Michigan talent than Bama talent to work with .