Last year the Florida Gators recruiting class didn’t have a tight end, which means in 2017 the Gators are looking to add two to the class.
On Saturday the Gators hosted one of its top targets when tight end Zech Byrd (6-6, 235, Millbrook, AL Stanhope Elmore) visited Gainesville for the second this offseason.
“It was good, we enjoyed the trip,” Byrd said of his Florida visit last weekend. “We toured the campus, met everybody and then watched a little bit of the camp. At the end of the day we talked to Coach Mac [Jim McElwain] and then we went into Coach [Greg] Nord’s office and talked a little bit.”
Byrd met with McElwain after the spring game for a long time and on Saturday he met with the Gators’ head coach once again.
“Coach Mac told me that he was going to get me in the Orange and Blue,” he said of McElwain’s message. “He said that I’m still the number 1 tight end that they’re going to recruit and that they want me bad. He says he needs me.”
Tight ends coach Greg Nord showed Byrd some film of how the Gators will use him as the two have built a good relationship with each other.
“Really Coach Nord and me are cool for real,” Byrd said of Nord. “I talk to Coach Nord a lot. He tells me that he wants to coach me and that I have the ability and athleticism to play at Florida. He says that he wants me to play for him.
Nord is one of the main coaches recruiting Byrd and the tight end says he likes the Gators assistant coach.
“Coach Nord is a cool guy and he’s down to earth,” he said of what he likes about Nord. “He’s a family man and he just talks to me and keeps in touch with me.”
Gainesville isn’t a short drive for Byrd, so he says he has real interest in the Gators having already visited Florida twice.
“I really like everything about Florida, for real,” Byrd said of his interest in Florida. “They have good scenery and they have good people down there. They make me feel at home down there.”
The difference between the two trips was that this time Byrd was joined by his parents, including his dad who grew up pulling for the Gators.
“My parents and my brother were on the trip with me,” he said. “My dad enjoyed the trip. He liked campus and he took so many pictures during the trip.”
Over the last month Byrd has visited several campuses and he says he will continue to do that as he waits to make his commitment.
“I’m not going to make my decision until after football season,” Byrd said. “I’m going to Alabama on Saturday for a visit and then I’m going to get back down to Florida. This fall I’m going to take my official visits. I know I’m going to Florida, Alabama, Michigan and Ole Miss and then I don’t know who the last one will be.”
Despite not having cut his list down, Byrd says he has two schools that are coming after him the hardest right now.
“Florida and Alabama are both recruiting me the hardest,” he said. “They are about recruiting me the same right now.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Florida and Alabama are leading the pack here but neither one seems to have an edge at this time. Byrd is a long athletic tight end that is high on both team’s board at this time.