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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