Eventful week for UF recruiting

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From the end of Florida’s visit weekend last Sunday to this past Monday, it was an eventful eight days for UF football recruiting.

After a month-long dead period that lived up to its name, the final week of the contact period generated a lot of buzz, news and results for the Gators.

Coach Jim McElwain and his staff are now riding a wave of momentum into signing day, which has the potential to be big for UF with the number of prospects making their decisions.

Here’s a recap of Florida’s last week in recruiting.

Eight prospects pledge

As the end of January neared and no commitments had taken place in more than a month, it seemed the Gators would be hard-pressed to have 20 signees in their 2015 class.

Now they’re just four away from that number.

UF has landed eight 2015 recruits in the last eight days, starting with linebacker Rayshad Jackson’s pledge two Sundays ago. The following day Florida flipped defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga from N.C. State.

After missing on Steven Clark and Christian Pellage last week, the Gators got a pair of South Florida offensive linemen this past Saturday in Richerd Desir-Jones and Fredrick Johnson. Sleeper defensive end Luke Ancrum committed the next day following his official visit.

But the biggest recruiting haul came Monday, when U.S. Army All-American running back Jordan Scarlett chose UF over FSU and defensive backs Kylan Johnson and Chris Williamson picked the Gators.

Scarlett’s pledge could have a domino effect with the other top targets deciding Wednesday, and of the seven lower-tier prospects Florida landed, Johnson, Williamson and Zuniga all appear to be better their recruiting ratings suggest.

McElwain’s bat signal

Unlike former coach Will Muschamp, who wasn’t a big social media guy, McElwain has embraced the use of Twitter.

Taking a page out of the book of Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and his “#YESSIR” slogan, McElwain has created his own bat signal to send out when he picks up a verbal commitment.

College coaches are not permitted to speak about recruits publicly, but a tweet with a signature hashtag will do the trick.

Francois fiasco

Brandenton IMG Academy quarterback Deondre Francois sent Florida and Florida State into a frenzy Thursday when a tweet announcing his decommitment from FSU was posted on his Twitter account.

The tweet came down minutes later, but it took two hours for Francois to say he had been hacked and was still committed to the Seminoles. During those two hours, an assistant coach at IMG told one media outlet the decommitment had indeed happened while head coach Chris Weinke refuted the news.

UF offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier visited with Francois earlier that day at his school. Despite claiming the decommitment tweet didn’t come from him, there’s some skepticism on both sides about the solidity of his pledge to FSU and whether he intends or has already decided to flip to the Gators.

The final verdict will known Wednesday.

UF trending for Jefferson?

Following five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson’s unofficial visit to Ole Miss on Jan. 23 and his father’s comments ($) after the trip, it looked like he was nearly a done deal for the Rebels.

But an in-home visit from Florida’s staff last Monday and Jefferson’s visit to UF the following day has given the Gators a big boost in confidence.

Both coaching staffs believe they will land the U.S. Army All-American, and one source close to Jefferson told the Sun his heart is in Gainesville but he really enjoys the environment at Ole Miss.

The last five-star recruit who lived this close to Gainesville (Laremy Tunsil) went with the Rebels over Florida. Will Jefferson continue the trend or stay close to home?

He announces Wednesday on ESPNU at 2 p.m. ET.

Final visit weekend

UF brought 15 official visitors to campus over the weekend as well as a host of underclassmen recruits.

The Gators got five commitments out of the group and put themselves in position to land a few more on signing day, most notably wide receiver Antonio Callaway, offensive lineman Nick Buchanan and Oregon State defensive end Keivonnis Davis.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Get on the Mac train, the Mac train, the mac train. This train is a Locomotive!
    Hop on board and ride the rails to title town.

    Great tradition. The SWAMP. An absolute top notch education.
    An amazing staff filled with positive thinking, experienced coaches. Coaches with proven track records of helping young men excel, and putting the best into the nfl and helping so many others excel in all walks of life.

    And the greatest fans in the world.

    Get on board the Mac train, the love train, the Mac train. Choochoo.
    Chompchomp X 5. Let’s go Gators!

  2. I think the most intriguing story line will be if UF gets a quarterback tomorrow. If they get Francois, that would be huge. Jackson would also be good, but not as good as stealing the better quarterback from FSU. Another big story line is if UF can get any more linebackers. Right now, UF has only one two star linebacker, Rayshard Jackson, and signed zero last year. With the availability of Morrison this year in question and the very thin depth chart, this is a serious concern. It looks like UF will meet it’s needs in every other area. If UF can get the two Davis, Ryan and Javorius, and a couple of more offensive linemen, led by Ivey, another running back or two, it will be a successful day.

  3. The more I delve into the “expert” opinions here and elsewhere the more apparent it seems that these guys don’t really know about these kids either. They report rumors they’ve overheard and occasionally get a line or two from a prospect. The rest of us play our hunches off what the recruiting reporters have to say. By the latter stages, the prospects aren’t saying much, so it all turns into guesswork for Zach, Robbie, Jamie Newberg and Mike Farrell. I really enjoy Zach’s reporting, the result of work much harder than the rest of us can grasp. But as for tomorrow’s outcome, who knows? Let’s hope it goes well for Mac and our team. Then let’s buckle up for spring and the autumn renaissance of Florida football.

  4. I hear that train a coming. Rolling down the track
    Come on guys, come chompchomp with Mac.

    And RANdy shannon and Nussmeir and Terrell Williams and Summers .
    These coaches can help you grow as men and players.

    You guys from Florida, come to the swamp, lead the Gators back to championships and reap the lifelong benefits of being part of the Gator Nation. No better way to build your future.

  5. Cece just think about roaring out of the tunnel at the swamp!
    Making plays, leading the gators and FEELING the roar of the crowd.
    That’s right when you get the Gators rocking you can actually FEEL the crowd in the swamp.

    Live your dream. Swamp fever!

  6. Martez,
    Envision yourself in the swamp, stoning the defensive end to give treon the time to get the deep ball to Demarcus.
    The swamp explodes with energy. It’s like electricity is in the air all around you.

    Your Gator family will love you forever and Gator Nation knows how to take of their family for life! Live your dream in the greatest game day environment in college football. The SWAMP.

  7. Antonio,
    Come to the swamp. Our coach doesn’t where a silly tie on game day but 90,000 FANATICAL GAtor fans will be there pulling for you from the bottom of their hearts. Just imagine -treon back to pass, looks off the safety, he lofts it to Callaway. TOUCHDOWN Callaway! TOUCHDOWN Callaway! 90,000 Fans erupt.

    When you join the Gator family you’re part of the family for life. Go ask Udonis Haslem about growing up in the 305 and then being part of the GAtor Nation. It sure has worked out well for UD. Antonio come to the swamp! Join the Gator family.

  8. Jordan,
    From Westminster and the 305 to the Swamp and your new Gator family. Come join 90,000 Family members every Saturday in the swamp. Miami had a coach named JJ that helped them win championships – many, many years ago.

    Come to UF, alongside Scarlett and the new J & J backfield can lead Gator nation to championships!

    Once you’re a Gator you’re a Gator for life and believe me Gator nation has deep roots in the 305, across the state, the entire nation and beyond. I have personally run into gators in several countries. Gator nation is everywhere for you. Imagine watching the Gators win a national title in ball while you’re in a bar in Paris with about 120 other Gators!

    With gator nation those things happen.
    From Westminster to the swamp and beyond. Come on up and live a dream! Talk to Randy Shannon he has made his way from the 305 to Gainesville. Let him help guide you.

  9. Mr. Cronkite The Swamp is calling you. Greatest game day environment in football. Chompchomp! Come feel the energy, the elevtricity and ba a part of the excitement of 90,00o fans pulling for you every week.

    Touchdown Cronkite! The plAce erupts, the ground shakes. It’s the swamp and only gators get out alive? From the 305 to UF – it worked out well fur Udonis and it will be great for you.

  10. Antonio,
    Your gator family is here for you. Come to Gainesville to start the next phase of your life. Come join Treon and the gator nation. Feel the love, learn from an experienced coaching staff loaded with proven winners that know how to help you be the best person and player you can be. And these guys are proven winners.

    You’re gonna love the Swamp on game day. There is nothing else like it.,

  11. Hey Deondre. Make the best move of your life. Your Gator family Is Waiting for you with open arms. THE University of Florid will deliver a great education. And you’ll be part of the worldwide network of the Gator nation with friends in high places for life.

    Coach Mqc and the staff are building something special in Gainesville. Come to title town and lead the Gators to championships.

  12. Byron come to the swamp.
    Join the Gator nation.
    Lead the GAtors onto Florida field with 90,000 adoring fans pulling for you from the bottom of their hearts. And know your Mom is there, bursting with pride. An opportunity for an excellent education and to work with a positive group of experienced, proven coaches. These coaches have a proven track record of developing young men AND winning championships. Some as players and cost as coaches. They know what it takes to become the best. Come to the swamp! Follow your heart live the dream.

    Go Gators
    Chompchomp.

  13. Mr. Cowart.
    The recruiting gurus say your torn. It’s not too late to decide to live your dream and run out of the tunnel at the swamp. Grab that Gator hat. It’s all right here for you. Gator nation is welcoming you with open arms.

  14. Apples is on a roll. Sounds like a great ambassador for Gator Nation.
    You tell them Apples pie, you speak the truth.
    Kids listen to the man he knows what he is talking about and what he says is real. There’s no better place than Hogtown for both athletics and academics. No better place.
    Goooooooooooooooo Gators!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!