As Jim McElwain tries to rebuild Florida football into a championship program, one of his mottos is “recruit daily or die.” Join us here on SEC Country for a daily recap of the latest Florida recruiting news, tales from the trail and perspective on what it all means for the Gators.
Florida-LSU also competing on recruiting trail
The Florida-LSU game Saturday is expected to draw a ton of recruits to The Swamp, including some 5-star visitors.
UF coach Jim McElwain knows the importance of this recruiting weekend, especially after this matchup was cancelled last season.
“I think more than anything, the atmosphere, being a home game and people seeing the atmosphere here of what is the ‘Swamp’ and wanting to be a part of something positive is always good,” McElwain said Monday.
The Florida-LSU rivalry has recently intensified not only on the gridiron, but on the recruiting trail as well. The Gators haven’t hosted LSU since 2014, which is a year that holds some significance for UF recruiting.
Former Florida coach Will Muschamp signed 4-star DL Gerald Willis — a consensus top-100 recruit — in the Class of 2014, ending a 12-year drought. Willis was the first Louisiana prep prospect to sign with UF since 2001. Willis transferred from the program after one season and now plays at Miami.
Muschamp dipped into Louisiana the following year and landed a commitment from 4-star wide receiver Derrick Dillon, but he flipped to LSU on National Signing Day despite being the first recruit to receive an in-home visit from newly-hired Florida coach Jim McElwain.
Led by the efforts of assistant Tim Skipper, McElwain and the Gators are now having recruiting success in the state of Louisiana. They almost upset LSU in the Class of 2016 for 5-star cornerback Kristian Fulton, ranked 21st nationally and No. 2 at his position in the 247Sports Composite.
He officially visited Florida on the final weekend of the cycle, but chose the in-state Tigers on signing day after reportedly struggling with the decision for days. Skipper hasn’t lost his last two recruiting battles in Louisiana, though one of them isn’t over yet.
The Gators signed 4-star defensive back Brad Stewart in their last class, and the New Orleans native is already earning playing time in the secondary. Another player who will likely see the field as a freshman is Florida WR commit Ja’Marr Chase, who is ranked 24th nationally, No. 6 at his position and No. 2 overall in Louisiana by 247Sports.
LSU is still trying to flip Chase, but the Under Armour All-American says he is solid with the Gators. Their Louisiana success won’t stop with Chase, either.
The staff has targeted multiple prospects throughout the state, including 5-star guard Kardell Thomas. UF offensive line coach Brad Davis has the Gators in contention for the LSU commit from Baton Rouge, La.
Thomas will be in attendance Saturday after visiting Florida in late July.
“We go head to head on a couple maybe every year, but not a ton necessarily,” McElwain said. “But anytime you get a win and anytime you’re playing a team, especially at home in front of all those guys, you want to play well and something we have to continue to do.”
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.
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