The Florida Gators coaching staff hosted several targets over the weekend including one of the top offensive linemen in the country.
Offensive lineman William Barnes (6-4, 312, Apopka, FL. High) was on campus on Saturday where he wanted to watch a few of the Gators coaches in action.
“It went really great,” Barnes said. “I got to talk to the coaches a little bit. I got to hang out with them a lot. I came out here to watch the defensive line coach Chris Rumph and offensive line coach Brad Davis coach a little bit.”
After watching Davis coach, Barnes had the chance to speak with the Gators offensive line coach about his recruitment.
“They were saying just like they really want me out here,” he said on what Davis told him. “ But they were telling me they’re not pressuring me to commit or anything. They said ‘Just take your time, just take a look around and just remember where home is’.”
Before Barnes left his visit to Gainesville, the offensive lineman had a long conversation with Gators head coach Jim McElwain.
“Coach, he’s been talking to me. He really wants me a lot,” Barnes said of what McElwain tells him. “He just says before I go to bed every night to just imagine myself in the orange and blue.”
Barnes is a big target for the Gators and Florida’s coaching staff is trying to get the offensive lineman on board soon so he can help the 2018 class.
“Definitely. So I can get this 2018 recruiting class going,” he said on if Florida has talked to him about committing early to help in the class. “They said as soon as they get a commit from me that will definitely get the 2018 class revved up a little bit.”
One of the things that has Florida sitting in good shape is the home feeling that Barnes gets while in Gainesville.
“It’s definitely really a family atmosphere out here.” Barnes said on what he likes about Florida. “You never feel like a stranger over here. It just feels nice.”
The home feeling is something that Barnes gets every time but the offensive lineman admits that he has seen pretty much every thing he needs to see in Gainesville.
“Yeah, it can help them out a little bit,” he said on if Florida helped itself with the visit. “They’re still one of my top schools, so there’s not really much to help because they’re just an amazing school all together, but if I see something that catches my eye, you know.”
Florida isn’t the only school after Barnes, as several other big name schools are hard after the lineman but he says one thing will help him decide on his future school.
“North Carolina, Ohio State, FSU, Auburn. Pretty much those schools,” he said on the schools standing out and what he’s looking for. “Family atmosphere, that’s something that’s big to me too, because my parents want to know when I leave that I’m at a place where I’ll be safe, where they know that I’ll be okay.”
Over the next few weeks Barnes plans to take several visits and after those visits a decision could come or he could decide to wait awhile.
“I plan on making my commitment on signing day,” Barnes said on when he will decide. “But during the summer if that changes then maybe I’ll reduce the time.”
One of those upcoming visits this summer, could be a return trip to Gainesville to see the Florida coaching staff.
“Yeah, probably,” he said on if he plans to return to Florida. “Maybe near the end of summer just for fun just to come back.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Florida is in great shape for Barnes right now with Auburn probably the next team in the mix. A summer decision is likely for Barnes but if not in the summer than he will take it signing day.