Spring practice helping McElwain, UF in recruiting

Jim McElwain during spring football practice. (Matt Stamey/Staff photographer)

With the exception of Monday, Florida coach Jim McElwain has enjoyed seeing his football team compete this spring.

Of course, he’s not the only one.

Recruits have flocked to UF this month for practices, and the Gators have almost tripled their number of verbal commitments.

Prior to spring football, McElwain and his coaches were mostly selling a vision for the future rather than a product on the field.

But over the last few weeks, visiting prospects have been able to see McElwain’s plan in motion as well as his staff and players at work.

“I think their opportunity to come see how we practice is awesome,” McElwain said. “It’s good any time they’ve got an opportunity to see us coach, see our guys compete. To every one of them, they love the way we’re going about our business and we’ve had some really good response.”

Florida linebacker commit Vosean Joseph, who visited on March 21, said the highlight of his trip was watching practice.

“It was very intense,” he said. “Nobody is left behind. They want to everybody to get equal reps and the same chance to start. The practices are uptempo, and you’ll be out of gas because it’s real fast. But I was ready to strap up. All coach had to do was give me some shoulder pads and a helmet. I would have loved to be out there.”

The Gators could have probably used Joseph, as they only have four healthy scholarship linebackers this spring. UF is also in need of depth and/or talent upgrades at other positions, and McElwain said recruits recognize that when they come to practice.

“Their opportunity to come see where the numbers are on the different lines and kind of see where maybe they might not have to stand in line as long,” McElwain said. “They might be in the fast-pass line going right on the ride.”


  1. “Their opportunity to come see where the numbers are on the different lines and kind of see where maybe they might not have to stand in line as long,” McElwain said. “They might be in the fast-pass line going right on the ride.”

    This guy knows what he’s talking about but more importantly he knows what he is doing. Bet you the recruits that come to see him in action want to get on that ride. They want that fast pass.
    Imagine how much better it’s going to get as we move through the summer and into the fall when the players start to own what BigMac and company are trying to teach them now.

  2. I’ve yet to see a tangible result from this “enthusiasm.” UF has yet to get a commitment from a top offensive player, and unlike some folks who want us to “imagine,” I only care about reality. Let’s see a top wide receiver or quarterback say they are coming to Florida, that’s something tangible. The words enthusiasm, excitement, and potential have been around for longer than this year. In fact, I heard the same words used last year with the arrival of Roper and the new “system.” Words are nice, but they are meaningless without action. I think you are lying to yourself if you say that you are not disappointed with seven of the eight current commits being three stars. I believe that’s fine, and you can win at a high level if they are players that the coaches rate high. But, like real games, recruiting is something that is judged in comparison to other schools, and right now, UF’s list comes up short in comparison to the teams they compete against. Let’s see UF get a Nate Craig-Meyers or Sam Bruce, for example. That would be results, not words.

  3. aux..im not sure wat you expect them to say..”this program is trash dont come here”during this period coaches have to become salesmen..your suppose to talk up the program and say “hey look..isnt this exciting,dont you want to be part of this”…i think getting elite 5star players was more of the muschamp way and seeing something special, developing that talent and teaching them basic and proper fundamentals and techniques is more of coach mac’s style..wen saban first got to bama, 5 stars werent racing to become bama boys..it took saban 2 years before he started attracting elite players..before then he was just coaching and developing players to play his kind of ball..in no way im i calling coach mac the next saban but he has the same mindset in regards to players..saban knew once he took down a top program (uf) and started winning recruiting would be a breeze..once coach mac starts winning the same thing will happen at uf…GO GATORS!!!

  4. Exactly 813, once recruits see the positive dire tion we are heading in next year, they will come. As I said before aux, our performance next year will affect our recruiting more so than a normal year as recruits have nothing to base our program off of until some games are played. So you can get all excited about being ahead of us before a single game is played, but we all know that florida is headed up while fsu is trying to rebuild, so recruiting will only get better and better for us. I bet you get all excited and brag about pre season rankings too.

  5. Call me crazy, but isn’t this hope, of someone being like Saban, the same we heard when Muschamp was hired? Isn’t this the same pro-style offense that Muschamp wanted to run? The only difference is that Muschamp was an assistant and McElwain was a Head coach. But the same exact things are being said about excitement and that someone that coached under Saban is the answer. FSU and UF are both “rebuilding,” but I think there is a big difference in the level of talent at the two schools to “rebuild” with. I think UF will continue to struggle on offense this year, and that doesn’t bode well for the hypothesis that UF’s recruiting will depend on how the season goes. MCElwain has identified only one guy he considers a playmaker, Brandon Powell. I think UF will continue to struggle at quarterback, with Harris not being accurate and I have heard nothing but silence about Will Grier. Grier might be the latest highly rated bust. If you have a good quarterback, you’ve got a chance. But, like the past five years, the Gators might not put a good quarterback on the field, and there’s been no “buzz” to refute that.

  6. Aux2 you are right & wrong at some point. Even if we have a similar record to what Muschamp had, believe we still end with a top 10 recruiting class. Just for the fact that the product will look much different. You tell the difference with the first 4 months on the job. Look at Auburn with Muschamp 4 months on the job, what they have 5 or 6 recruits. Sounds about what he left coach Mac . We don’t have to be great this year just not the same old defense win game & the offense ground it out. Florida football always been about excitement. Just watch the offense of recruits will come once they see the new product on game day. Muschamp had fans not wanting to show up at the (SWAMP) really! (The Swamp)

  7. Geez Aux get a life you Debbie downer. Have you EVER played a varsity sport at any level? Somehow I doubt it, because if you had then you would understand the perception of rebuilding.
    Please do everyone a favor and shut the hell up. It’s amazing how brave and smart people are when they can sit in secret use a phony name and type their little hearts out.
    I know you get your jollies when folk respond to you like this,maybe you’ll notice I use my real name and I live in Middleburg

  8. moneygreen I agree with you that UF will have a great class under the parameters you out lined. I just question whether UF’s offense will actually be improved to show recruits a promise of things to come. If a quarterback steps up, I don’t doubt an improvement will be made, if not, it’s hard to see UF being better. I think the offensive line will take a step back from last year, and that doesn’t bode well for a running game that has been poor except for the Georgia game last year. Maybe the scheme will overcome the lack of talent, like it does at Georgia Tech with their powerful offense. But normally a pro-style offense is dependent on talented players, and I just wonder if UF has the horses to make it work.

  9. One of the keys is the speed of play and Mac gets it. Practice is all about playing fast and learning to make fast decisions. They can’t help but be better then last year when real games all start to be slow down as compared to the speed of practice. Its like when a batter says that he sees the ball so well or a tennis player seeing the ball easier. Soccer is the same way. Practice fast and the game will slow down for you. Last year Roper tried to do it but it was just a trial, an experiment, and was never the true basis of practice. Learning to be productive under fire. I can’t wait to see the fruits of their labor.

  10. Aux, I’m starting to worry about you buddy. You do realize we are talking about a football game here, right? You are supposed to be having fun, I’m concerned about how your obsession with being as negative as possible will affect your future mental state. Maybe you should take a break for a while and get things back in perspective. How many hours a day do you spend huddled over your lap top grinning to yourself as you post some anti gator rhetoric? It’s the off season anyways, it’s all just talk right now, none of this really matters, especially recruiting before a single play is run,so you won.t miss anything if you take a well deserved break. We will be here when you get back, you have been a great troll, there is no shame in admitting that you got sucked into your own troll hole and need a break to get your head back on straight. Don’t let trolling ruin football for you altogether, maybe you should go back and read all your posts back to back, you will find that you sound like a football fan who has let himself get a little too wrapped up in it all, and has become that over zealous, high strung guy. It’s just a game my fsu friend, all the negativity and borderline obsession about off season gator football is going to eat you up inside.

  11. We are over 10 months from signing day. No one should be worrying about the state of the recruiting class right now. I seem to remember someone here posting a message about a month before the last signing day saying the Gators may not be able to sign 10 recruits. The Gators will get their share of 4 & 5 star recruits by signing day. As willgator is saying – relax and have fun!

  12. I think Lennon-McCartney had an appropriate lyric; “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.” I’m an eye opener, and it’s readily apparent that even McElwain is now realizing that this team has some serious issues. This is going to be a multi-year project to make UF relevant again. The best thing that’s happened is that there have been no major injuries. The one player that McElwain has identified as a playmaker, Brandon Powell, should be fine in the Fall. There has also not been any off the field news, which is a blessing. I’m sure they wish the same could be said in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere. No injuries and no news is the definition of a successful Spring to me. But that doesn’t mean the level of talent has changed, and that’s what wins games. When a new staff takes over there are usually transfers from players not buying in to the new regime or them being told they have no future at the school. That hasn’t happened yet. I know Driskel left, but he didn’t need someone to tell him that he had no future at Florida. There’s no way McElwain could get away with trotting him out again, the pitchforks would have come out immediately and the honeymoon would be over. So we’ll see who are the ones who leave after Spring is over. It might be that no one leaves, but that would surprise me. When you rebuild something, you sometimes have to rip up and throw away the old and bring in the new. A new quarterback may be needed, maybe there’s a transfer on the horizon because it’s questionable if there’s a good quarterback on campus.

  13. aux,

    Any perceived negativity on here will also bring out the pitchforks from the imbecillic mooks around the board. Speaking the truth does not always mean one’s perspective is negative. My comment of the current staff would be possibly they can get more out of less. There is an obvious problem in certain areas (OL, LB, QB?) but the staff has identified and acknowledged them. My hope is that McElwain can work with the QB’s and at least make them efficient in whatever offense they implement.

    I would definitely agree, no injuries and no arrests make a good spring. I fully expect a better team than the trash the past couple of years – I am just not sure if they can seriously compete for the East just yet without the QB spot improving. Possibly he is sandbagging a bit, but it does not sound like it……..

  14. There is to much talk of 5 stars. Look a Missouri, fighting for the east with only 2’s and 3’s. Look at the last super bowl. Only a couple of 4’s on each team. Coaching and attitude are what make the difference. A kid might be a 2 or 3 in high school because of the coaching. You have to look at his potential and attitude.