The Florida Gators recruiting board for 2018 is starting to take shape as the coaching staff hands out more offers before spring practice starts.
On Monday the Gators offered safety C.J. Smith (6-2, 193, West Palm Beach, FL. Oxbridge Academy) after he spoke to a Gators coach on the phone.
“Coach JaJuan Seider told me about the offer,” Smith said. “I called him on Monday night and he let me know about the offer. I’ve been waiting patiently for the offer and it was very exciting to get the offer. I’ve wanted an offer from Florida for a couple of years now.”
When Smith spoke with Seider, the Gators coach explained where Florida was going to recruit him at and why the Gators wanted him.
“They offered me at safety,” he said. “They’ve been looking at my tape for a minute now and they like the way I play. They say that I have great range and that I will do very well. He said that I’m one of the players in the 2018 class that they want to recruit hard. It was their pleasure to offer me but I was very excited to get that offer.”
After speaking with Seider over the phone Smith still couldn’t believe the offer as he explains why he wanted this Florida offer so bad.
“The offer means a lot to me,” Smith said. “Florida jumped up on my schools because of that offer. My first time going up there was the night before Friday Night Lights, it was just a regular day and nobody was really on campus that day but it still made it feel like home. Florida has the best campus out of all the Florida schools and the best coaching staff in my opinion.”
Unlike most defensive backs, Smith already has a relationship with new defensive backs coach Corey Bell and he thinks a lot about the Gators assistant coach.
“I know Coach Bell from FAU from when we went to a team camp there,” he said of Bell. “We’ve bumped into each other a couple of times. He’s very straight up and he’s not going sugar coat anything. He let you know straight up what the school is about and what position they want you at and how they can help you out. He’s a team guy.”
Despite being all the way in West Virginia, Seider has developed a great relationship with Smith and the two guys have a lot in common to talk about.
“Coach JaJuan Seider has been one of my guys, personality wise,” Smith said. “He’s from Belle Glade which is just a couple of minutes from me so we can have a conversation without him having to put on a front for me. I like Coach JaJuan Seider, I was very excited for him when he made that move to Florida from West Virginia.”
After picking up this offer the Gators skyrocketed to the top of the board for Smith heading into a junior day visit to Gainesville.
“Florida is in my top five and they’re leading right now,” he said. “I’m going to visit them on a junior day on March 25th and I’m going to FSU for a junior day this weekend.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Smith says he doesn’t want to make a decision until signing day but the Gators are definitely in good shape for him right now. More offers will come for Smith though because of his ability to play so many positions.