July was an absolutely huge month for the Florida Gators recruiting classes with several 2018 and 2019 prospects committing to Florida.
Offensive lineman Curtis Dunlap (6-4, 368, Bradenton, FL. IMG) really was the one who got things started when he committed to Florida on July 18th just three days before Friday Night Lights.
It looked like things were going in a different direction for Dunlap and Florida but he explained why he ultimately decided on Florida over several other schools.
“It was a whole bunch of things but the biggest thing was building that relationship with Coach [Brad] Davis,” Dunlap said on why he decided Florida was the place to be. “He was big on me getting down there and visiting him and family. He told me that my old offer was still good but that if I wanted to come to Florida that I had to build a relationship with him. He said that we’re a family here and he’s building a family on the offensive line.”
Dunlap really got the national spotlight when he made the final five for offensive linemen at the Opening in Oregon and shortly afterwards he decided to end his recruitment.
“I went to the Opening and I had a good time and then came back and committed,” he said on why he committed when he did. “I felt like what was the point in waiting when you already know where you want to go. People were telling me that I hadn’t visited Oklahoma or here and there but I said that I didn’t feel like those school would fit me and Florida does so why waste my time.”
All of this wouldn’t have happened had the Florida Gators not made a change at his position in January and bring in Brad Davis to coach the offensive line.
“Florida was always a dream but at first I wasn’t really meshing with the old offensive line coach so I said I kind of want to go to Florida but I wasn’t meshing with him,” Dunlap said. “When Coach Davis got there, he brought a different swagger and different energy to the offensive line and he just changed how I felt about Florida.”
Dunlap has rave reviews for Davis and his attitude towards to his players but the offensive lineman was able to give a brief description of the guy leading the offensive line position.
“Coach Davis is a hard working, loud guy and I don’t say loud in a disrespectful way,” he said of Davis. “He’s loud and in your face but he’s going to be there for you. He works hard and wants you to work hard.”
The IMG lineman plays both inside and outside for his team but Dunlap says Davis hasn’t specified a position but mainly told him what to do in order to be ready to play in Gainesville.
“He hasn’t really told me much but he has just told me to be prepared to come in and play early,” Dunlap said of Davis’ message to him. “He said he wants me to come in and work hard and get comfortable, I’m early enrolling so that’s going to help my chances. He’s looking for guys to play so if I come in and compete and learn the playbook, then I’m looking at playing time very early.”
Quarterback Matt Corral has gotten the most attention of the commits and respectfully so but Dunlap admits that it’s nice to be the guy who really got things started.
“It’s very exciting,” he said on how it felt to get the dominoes started with his commitment. “I knew guys wanted to come but when we talk the recruiting game, somebody can just be bs’ing me. When I committed, people really just followed on the train. It felt like we were really building something special in this class and to be the first piece of it felt good.”
Dunlap and the rest of the 2018 commits have already started talking a lot through group text and the offensive lineman says he was happy to have gotten the chance to meet several of those guys already.
“I didn’t know those guys were going to commit so early but going to the Opening and being able to mesh with those guys was good,” Dunlap said on the family feel of this class so far. “We’re comfortable with each other and I can call them family. We’re able to talk and text with each other and things came together well.”
Now that Dunlap and the rest of the Gators commits have been able to land big prospect after big prospect, the lineman says big things are ahead of this class.
“I don’t want to be that guy that over hypes the class but I think this class is going to change the culture at Florida,” he said of the 2018 class. “It’s already been changing with Coach Mac but this is going to be another piece.”
Dunlap and the rest of the guys aren’t done recruiting others yet and the IMG prospect explained how he approaches other recruits.
“I just kind of give them a little bit of history depending on what position they play,” Dunlap said of his message to recruits. “When I’m talking to Xavier [Thomas], I’m telling him that the year that they won the championship with [Tim] Tebow, they had a good defense and good defensive line and we’re building that. I tell him that we have the quarterback and the offensive line but need the defensive line. I’m just telling everyone that they will fall in love with Coach Mac and the coaches.”
Gator fans don’t have to worry much about Dunlap’s commitment to Florida as he says he’s very solid and is already lining up visits to Gainesville.
“I’m looking to take my official in November for the Florida State game,” he said of visits. “I’m going to be down there frequently though.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Dunlap is very solid to Florida and is recruiting a lot of others to join him at Florida. Dunlap has also improved his game a lot this offseason and is in better shape heading into the season.