Coaches chomping down instate: Florida Gators recruiting

Jim McElwain has made it no secret that he was he wants the Florida Gators recruiting efforts to take back the state of Florida and, while the Gators did a good job in 2016, McElwain still wants more.

On National Signing Day McElwain talked about how the Gators weren’t where he wanted them to be as far as instate recruiting goes but he was happy with the progress.

“I kind of like how we’ve got something from a lot of the areas as far as within the state and not just focused on one central area,” McElwain said. “That’s something we still need to get better at, and we’ll keep working at it.”

Fast forward to Monday and the Gators coaching staff will spend their first week on the road spread out over the state of Florida with the focus on hitting different areas each day.

McElwain will have to rely on his assistant coaches to spread their message, as head coaches aren’t allowed on the recruiting trail during the spring.

Those assistant coaches should have a pretty good message to spread throughout the state with  Florida coming off of a 10-4 season that saw them reach Atlanta with a roster that lacked a ton of playmakers.

Another big message the Gators and McElwain have been pushing is the message to stay instate and play for the hometown team, while getting the benefit of having the “Gator Brand” their for post graduation and football lives.

On Monday the Gators’ assistant coaches are likely to hit the northern portion of the state down to Orlando with Tuesday focusing on the southwest portion of Florida.

Wednesday is likely to focus on the talent rich area of Tampa that the Gators are desperately trying to regain ground in and Thursday looks to be the day that Florida hits south Florida hard.

The Gators staff is likely to finish the week hitting the panhandle portion of the state. When the week is over Florida will have visited well over 300 schools and prospects from the classes of 2017-2019.

Here’s who GatorCountry has confirmed will receive visits on Monday from the Florida coaches.

Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and defensive line coach Chris Rumph are expected to be at IMG Academy to see several prospects. IMG has top targets like TE Tre McKitty, OL Cesar Ruiz, OL Robert Hainsey, LB Dylan Moses, 2018 OL Curtis Dunlap and 2018 WR Brian Hightower.

Running backs coach Tim Skipper and defensive backs coach Torrian Gray are scheduled to hit one of the Gators’ top targets in cornerback Shaun Wade, who is currently committed to Ohio State.

Gray will busy on Monday as he’s also scheduled to see Florida State safety commit Cyrus Fagan, who despite his commitment, has continued to communicate with the Gators.

Defensive coordinator Geoff Collins and linebackers coach Randy Shannon are scheduled to be in the talent rich Orlando area on Monday. Those two coaches are likely to see Auburn offensive line commit Calvin Ashley, linebacker DeMarco Artis (6-4, 220, Seminole, FL High), 2018 defensive end Stacy Kirby (6-3, 230, Orlando, FL Jones) as well as hitting several other schools.

Receivers coach Kerry Dixon will be in his area recruiting on Monday and that area includes the Atlantic Coast. Dixon should see 2019 athlete commit Jaleel McRae on Monday.

Tight ends coach Greg Nord has the north central part of the state as his area and he will be there recruiting on Monday. One of the stops for Nord should be to see Dunnellon high school practice. Dunnellon is home to 2019 receiver Maurice Goolsby (6-4, 195), who already holds a Gators offer.

Offensive line coach Mike Summers will cover a lot of ground on Monday, as he will stop in Jacksonville to see offensive lineman Cordavien Suggs (6-6, 260, Neptune Beach, FL Fletcher), who has yet to pick up a Gators offer. After Jacksonville Summers is expected to move into south Georgia to visit offensive lineman D’antne Demery (6-6, 304, Brunswick, GA High) and athlete Deejay Dallas (6-0, 182, Brunswick, GA Glynn Academy) in the afternoon.


INSIDERS TAKE:  I’m tired just writing this, I can’t imagine how tired these coaches are after one day on the trail. One thing is for sure, though, McElwain is focused on getting the state of Florida back to Gainesville.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.