McElwain: UF receiving ‘great buzz’ in recruiting

Jim McElwain is confident Florida's 2015 class can finish on a high note. (Photo by Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun)

Recruiting has been near the top of Jim McElwain’s priority list since he took over as Florida’s head coach last month.

Now that he’s made contact with dozens of prospects and announced all but one of his staff hires, McElwain’s next objective is turning many of the recruiting relationships he’s initiated into verbal commitments.

“Obviously first and foremost, our recruiting (is top priorty),” McElwain said Wednesday. “I’ve hired some outstanding coaches that bring value to the positions that they coach, as well as some history within the SEC and this part of the country. We’ve got to shore that up. We’re not going to hit home runs all the time.

“I think part of the infrastructure is how we go about our identification, making sure we don’t make critical mistakes or fatal flaws at certain positions in which we’re recruiting and those aren’t just playing the game. Those are making sure they’re the right fit for what we’re gonna accomplish here at Florida. That’s kind of where we’re at from that standpoint. We’ve gotten great buzz and yet time will tell as we move forward on that end of it.”

The Gators currently have eight verbal commitments in the 2015 class, which has scholarship room for 28 signees at this time. McElwain was asked to elaborate on the “buzz” he’s receiving on the recruiting trail.

“From a national standpoint and a recruiting standpoint, we’ve got great feedback on what we’re doing and how we’re going about doing it,” he said. “A lot of it becomes relationships and trust. We’re not going to get every target we have. But you know what, maybe in some cases there might be a reason that it’s maybe a better fit somewhere else.

“So I know the guys that we are going to sign are really going to be good players, they’re going to be guys that are committed to be a part of something special and a resurgence. I’m looking forward to that.”

With signing day (Feb. 4) less than a month away, the success of Florida’s recruiting class will hinge on how well McElwain and his assistants can build relationships with their targets. The Sun spoke to a handful of Under Armour All-Americans last week who said they like the new direction of UF’s football program, but getting to know the coaches will be key for them.

McElwain knows he has his work cut out for him in this recruiting cycle.

“You’ve got to understand the way recruiting is now,” he said. “We’re trying to catch up a little bit from behind. I get it. I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. I’ve been doing this for a while. We’ve got a lot of ground to make up, so this next two weeks is obviously going to be crucial to us making a dent.

“But you know what, when we took the job we knew that … it’s going to take a while. I’m not real patient by nature, as you will find out over time, but at the same time I also understand that there’s a lot of things that need to be taken care of before we are successful on an everyday basis.”


  1. Buzz and signatures are two very differnt things. Lets see if the buzz pays off by February. I am interested in seeing who finishes better Michigan who is behind us right now in recruting or Florida. Harbaugh had a later start and Florida was ahead at the time. Additionally, coach Mac assembled a staff of recruiters.

  2. That turd Willis is gone. I could care less what Michigan does in recruiting. All I care aout is how well we meet some of our needs… Recruiting will come. I’m more concerned with with getting the right kids that fit in this first class. I love the staff. Some of the best there are in terms of production, all americans, stat leaders, etc. Now, lets make sure these recruits know who the coaches are and what they have done. Gatorsports, as soon as the WR coach is named, do a complete story with short bio of each of the coaches. Some of these kids look at this site. Why not do our best to sell these coaches to them as well. I bet they’d love to know Williams’ D-line led the SEC in sacks his last yr. at A&M, mention Von Miller. They’d love to know that Callahan had an All-Anerican in Greene, and all conference, senior bowl selection in Geathers this yr. Shannon’s record of recruiting and development speaks for itself. Let these kids know what we could be offering them as new Gators… Go Gators!

  3. A also don’t care what Michigan does in recruiting this year, especially Harbaugh versus McElwain. They are not even recruiting the same players for the most part. Heck, Harbaugh ought to be able to recruit with the non stop 24/7 gushing the ESPN guys are keep doing. They just can’t quit talking about him to the point where you would think he was the 2nd coming of Bo Schembechler himself. They are even having him on the set Monday night for the National Championship game and he has not even won a game yet. Talking about a recruiting advantage with that kind of over exposure!.

  4. I understand what Gator Fan was saying with regards to Michigan. It isn’t that he necessarily cares what Michigan does it is more of a measuring stick because they are in the same boat we are. Luckily for us much of the remaining talent is in Florida. This class is absolutely LOADED with guys that should have been LOCKS as Gators ( Cowart, Jefferson, Ivey, Holland, Campbell McCloud, Cain, etc) NOW WE WILL BE LUCKY TO GET ANY OF THEM…..PATHETIC!

  5. Why not wait and see how things turn out before passing judgement. If the Gators end up with a decent class, I think that would be quite an accomplishment with what the new administration has had to overcome. Would you have rather they stuck with Muschamp and had a better recruiting class? As far as I what have seen, we are still in the running for a few of those players and may be able to switch some other verbal commits.

  6. If we had stuck with Muschamp the recruiting class would have been even worse. Remember it was Muschamp who could only get 8 or so kids to commit anyways. It was Muschamp who lost the top 2 commits he had before he was even fired after the LSU and Mizzou losses. The way the program was going we were losing the very few kids we had anyways. Whatever Mac can get will be a lot better than what Muschamp had lined up. All the so called Florida leans were waiting in vain for Muschamp to show he could win and would have gone elsewhere if he was retained.

  7. @305Gator

    Like Muschamp or not, players like Cowart and Jefferson really liked him and wanted to play for him. They were simply waiting to see if he was going to be retained or not before making a decision. I disagree that if he was retained they would have went elsewhere. I think Muschamp’s recruiting on the defensive side of the ball speaks for itself. I think you are letting an obvious hate for Muschamp cloud your thinking. Whether you like him or not, he was able to land a ton of big time players on defense.

  8. I don’t know what this “buzz” is that McElwain’s talking about. The “buzz” I hear is that UF may lose two more guys that are committed to UF now. Michael Horton may bolt soon, and UF needs bodies on the offensive line. It also seems that it’s almost a lock that Derrick Dillon will flip to LSU when he visits Jan. 16. UF can sign at least 25 this year, I’m still waiting to see UF get to double digits. We’ll see, but right now it’s looking pretty grim. UF might not even get one of the three top guys, Ivey, Cowart, or Jefferson, that were supposedly locks for UF many moons ago. I hope it’s not just smoke McElwain is blowing, and all I have written above is not true.

  9. aux2 – Thank you for making me laugh. There were two parts of your post that I found especially funny.

    “I’m still waiting to see UF get to double digits. We’ll see, but right now it’s looking pretty grim.”

    You had to be kidding. The chances of the Gators not signing more than 10 commits is zero.

    The 2nd part that I found amusing was:

    I hope it’s not just smoke McElwain is blowing, and all I have written above is not true.

    Every post of yours is negative. I have no doubt that you are hoping that all you said is true. Will give you more material for your negative posts.

  10. The building blocks are in place. A head coach who is all about business and has a plan. Coaching staff with the right fit a priority. This recruiting cycle will be a mystery until signing day. Recruiting takes time to develop relationships, present a plan and demonstrate on the field performance. Defensively we have demonstrated that. Before we get any of the top shelf play makers that we have been missing out on, we will have to show them at least one year (my opinion only) of more focus on the offensive side of the ball. I feel that everything for success is already in place except that.

  11. I wish some of you guys could sit back & look at your posts. We have all been on a long hard ride with musswilly & the negativity is just eatin’ yall up. This is a new era in Gator F-ball. Lets just stop feeding this urge to tear down what is just beginning. We can ALL agree that Coach Mac is a huge upgrade from what we had ( which was not much ). Go on you tube & look at his colorado st. team. You will see an effective, efficient offense operating with much less talent than what we have now.. Great staff, Great hire ! just chill people !!!! Git er done Gators !!!

  12. The Gator program is back!!!!!! Coach Mac has hired 6 new coaches for a reason!!!! this is going to be a recruiting and coaching powerful staff!!!!!! As for our future…You watch what we will out of the hat in the signing of the next 20 players to go with our 8!!!! We are going into the season with the only bowl win of the big 3!!!! FSU got hammered and Maimi just died…..Think of it..Who has the best program of the 3?????? The gators will fill the swamp and we will be back next year!!!!!!!! This staff will land some great recruits while FSU loses the team that just got hammered!!!! Heck we almost beat that paper tiger.
    And best of All Muschamp and Driscoll are gone!!!!
    Go Gators…Bob in Jupiter

  13. A decent class = 14-17 with a Top 30 Rating
    An excellent class = 18-23 with a Top 20 Rating
    A GREAT CLASS = 24-28 with a Top 10 Rating.

    I expect an excellent class. (most likely imo)
    I would not be shocked if it’s a GREAT CLASS.
    I would be slightly shocked if it’s just a decent class. (highly unlikely imoho)

  14. Daz – We have a different definition of trashing someone and keeping it real. Have not seen aux post one positive message ever about the Gators. If that is your definition of keeping it real, you are probably on the wrong team’s site.