The Florida Gators coaching staff is out on the road recruiting for the final stretch of January in hopes of finishing the class of 2016 off on a strong note while several college football teams around the country look to play catch up to this coaching staff.
Florida sits with 26 commitments in the class of 2016 and that is in large part due to the Gators early evaluations of prospects around the country and getting them in the class of 2016 before others noticed them.
When fans and critiques around the country questioned what the Florida coaching staff was doing last spring and summer the Gators coaching staff was quietly building a top ten class made up of prospects that are becoming hot commodities in January.
It’s easy for any coaching staff to offer a five star prospect that has 60 plus offers but a coaching staff that’s going to succeed is able to find that prospect who’s looking for his first big offer because he either doesn’t campus at schools or doesn’t attend the big sponsored events.
There are several examples of the Florida coaching staff doing that this cycle on prospects who have saw their stock’s soar after their senior season tape came out in November and now teams are trying to get those prospects flip.
11 out of Florida’s 26 commits have been bumped up a star in the recruiting services ranking system including defensive end commit Antonneous Clayton who is now a five star prospect and ranked number 10 in the country by ESPN.
This is a big testament to the Florida Gators coaching staff but is also a testament to these prospects for continuing to show the talent they’ve despite already being committed to a big time program like Florida.
A few examples are safety Jeawon Taylor who committed to Florida back in August when he just had offers from Ole Miss and Kentucky but now he holds offers from the likes of Auburn and Georgia.
Taylor who just took a trip to Athens last weekend is one of the hottest names in the state of Alabama but the Gators staff beat everyone to punch here because of their early evaluations of Taylor, plus what they were able to see in camp.
Another example is running back commit Lamical Perine who committed to Florida in May of last year with just an offer from Mississippi State but now has the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide burning down his phone lines trying to keep the instate back home at Alabama.
Florida made Perine an early target got him the offer and he committed and then he had an outstanding senior year that saw him on the first team all-state list an then schools finally realized what the Gators noticed last spring.
The last example I’ll mention is probably the best job of early evaluating Florida has done this cycle when they offered cornerback Aaron Robinson last Summer while he was the Gators 7-on-7 team camp.
Robinson was a dominating force during the camp and the Gators offered him immediately while most schools still told the cornerback that they needed to see more from him.
See more from him is exactly what Robinson did this fall when he shut down top receiver after top receiver and now he holds offer from just about every big name team in the southeast including Alabama, Miami, USC and Tennessee.
My point in writing this is that we are so quick to judge a prospect and coach by a player’s offer list that we don’t give coaches the credit that they deserve. Maybe after this recruiting cycle Florida fans will realize that Jim McElwain and his coaching staff know how to evaluate talent.