Florida looks to have zeroed in on a target as it searches for a second quarterback in the 2016 recruiting cycle.
LSU commit Feleipe Franks made a surprise visit to UF on Saturday for the Vanderbilt game. It was Franks’ first time in Gainesville since the 2013 season.
“The visit and game was fun,” Franks said. “It was good to get back down here for a game. Everything about it was fun, the game was good and the atmosphere was good.”
The game didn’t feature a lot of offense for Franks to watch, but he enjoyed seeing The Swamp filled and fans celebrating a trip to Atlanta.
“The atmosphere was crazy,” Franks said. “They were playing for the SEC championship, so it was crazy. It was nice to see from the crowd.”
Florida’s football team, which had little expectations entering 2015, is having a Cinderella season under first-year coach Jim McElwain. The Gators were picked to finish fifth in the SEC East and are now champions of their division.
“It shows a lot that they are going to the SEC championship game,” Franks said. “Coach McElwain has turned the program around. He has done a good job with that.
“You can see the difference from last year to this year with the way he’s doing things. I think Coach Mac is a really good coach and he has Florida going in the right direction.”
The majority of recruits and current UF players did not know who McElwain he arrived last December. But Franks has followed McElwain for a few years and knew what the Gators were getting in him.
“When Florida hired Coach Mac, I started to believe it,” he said. “I watched him at Colorado State and how he did things there, so I knew he would bring it here. I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take, but he’s definitely a good coach and he’s doing the right things.”
McElwain is personally recruiting Franks and went to see him on Oct. 19, the first day of Florida’s bye week. Franks said his conversations with McElwain are more meaningful than with most coaches.
“Coach Mac is telling me that he wants me,” Franks said. “That’s kind of what every school says, but it’s good talking to Coach Mac. He’s a good guy to talk to and it’s good talking to him. I enjoy it.”
The 6-foot-6, 219-pounder from Crawfordville Wakulla attended the game with his mother and high school teammate, four-star 2016 wide receiver Keith Gavin.
Gavin said he and Franks grew up together, and he thinks UF could flip his childhood friend.
“He’s feeling Florida a lot,” Gavin said of Franks. “He’s always talking about them, wearing their gear. I think they got a shot.”
Franks, who wore blue Gators shirt Saturday, said he plans on taking some official visits but has no dates set yet. As an early enrollee, UF would need Franks to return some time within the next month before the Dec. 14 dead period begins.
“I’m honestly not sure where Florida fits into the picture, that’s what I’m trying to see,” Franks said. “Everything I’m seeing at Florida is good and everything I’m seeing at LSU is good. I’m just honestly not sure right now, but I’m solid to LSU and I want to see how things go.”