The quarterback position is the most important player on the field and most of the time is the alpha male in the recruiting class and the Florida Gators are looking for their guy in 2018.
The coaching staff has several options on the board including Penn State quarterback commit Justin Fields (6-3, 221, Kennesaw, GA. Harrison) who has picked up several big offers lately including ones from Florida and Florida State.
“It’s definitely humbling getting offers from both of those prestigious schools,” Field said of his latest offers from Florida and FSU. “They’ve been pretty big football schools in the past, so it’s definitely humbling and honorable to get those offers.”
Florida officially offered Fields last fall when offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier visited his school but the quarterback didn’t announce his offer until earlier this spring.
“Coach Nuss came to see me throw one day. I don’t know when it was, but yeah,” he said on his offer came about with Florida. “He came down to the school to see me throw and then that day he didn’t like, he wanted to keep it on the low for the perception of other quarterbacks since I’m committed to Penn State, but he told me if I wanted to go to Florida then I could go there definitely. It was the kind of thing that wasn’t really public, but if I wanted to go there then I have the chance to. Then Florida State, they offered me this past weekend after the 7-on-7 tournament in Tallahassee.”
The offer from the Gators and head coach Jim McElwain was one that really caught Fields attention because of the big need for a quarterback in Gainesville.
“Yeah, most definitely. I think that’s what they’ve been missing the last couple of years is a quarterback,” Fields said on if he sees an opportunity to play early at Florida. “I mean, as you can see, they have athletes built all around them, receivers, running backs. But I think they’ve just been missing a quarterback, and that’s what the coaches have been relaying to me and telling me that they have everyone in the class that they need, they just need a quarterback.”
Despite not having a solid quarterback in Gainesville the last few years, Fields is still impressed by the Gators head coach and other things in the Swamp.
“The most appealing thing is just the, I guess, Coach McElwain and his staff,” he said. “ The past success they’ve had, but I guess you could say also the quarterback room there and just the opportunity to play.”
McElwain and Nussmeier are recruiting Fields hard but it’s actually running backs coach JaJuan Seider who is working the quarterback the hardest.
“Coach Seider,” Fields said on the coach he talks to the most from Florida. “He usually texts me every day. Then it’s probably Coach Nuss and then Coach McElwain. They all text me.
Florida’s staff has really zeroed in on Fields as a top target for the class of 2018 and that’s the message they’ve been sharing with the Penn State quarterback commit.
“That I’m their number one guy and they want me down there,” he said on the message from Florida. “I’m their main priority and really that’s all they need is a quarterback.”
Over the last year and a half or so, the Gators have really changed the type of quarterback they’re recruiting and Nussmeier explained why they like Fields so much to him.
“Yes sir. Well, he doesn’t really stress the running part,” Fields said on if Nussmeier is stressing wanting a dual threat guy. “He just likes the way I throw the ball, but I mean, as everybody knows, I can also create plays with my feet, so if they need me to do that then I’m definitely open to doing that.”
Two weekends ago on the way home from a 7-on-7 tournament in Tallahassee, Fields stopped by Florida State to visit the Seminoles. Following that visit, Florida State offered Fields and the quarterback broke down what the offer meant to him.
“Coach Jimbo and the recent success he’s had with quarterbacks, Jameis Winston, EJ Manuel,” he said on what he thought of the FSU offer. “That’s definitely great to get an offer from a school where quarterbacks come out of that school and they’re NFL ready.”
Now that Fields has visited Florida State, the quarterback and his family want to visit Gainesville but a date hasn’t officially been set yet.
“No, not really. I’m just gonna talk to my dad about it and we’ll kind of get that planned out over the summer,” Fields said on when he may visit Florida.
When Fields does get down to Gainesville, the quarterback knows exactly what he needs to see from Florida and the coaching staff.
“I just wanna see, I wanna sit down in the film room and see like their concepts and different stuff like that,” he said on what he wants to see on his Florida visit. “ And just really, I guess with any school, the main thing I look for in a visit is does it feel like home to me, so that’s the main thing I like to see.”
All of the offers coming in lately for Fields have been nice but the quarterback still remains committed to Penn State and several things played into him committing there.
“Definitely the family atmosphere, how comfortable I was up there and the offense,” Fields said on what he likes about Penn State. “Coach Moorhead’s doing a great job up there as you can see. Like the first year winning the Big 10 championship, so that’s definitely appealing, but they were a young offense last year. I think they maybe lost one guy, so I’m definitely excited to see what they’re gonna do this year.”
Fields doesn’t shy away from saying that he’s going to continue to listen to other schools and he knows what it will take for someone to change his mind.
“I guess it will just be a feel thing and I’m just gonna pray about it,” he said on what it will take to flip him. “ Because this is definitely one of the biggest decisions of my life, so I’m definitely just gonna pray about it.”
One thing is for sure with Fields is that he isn’t going to rush into any kind of final decision because he understands the college football landscape.
“There are things always changing, so I don’t think you can just do that,” he said on when he wants to be done with everything. “Because you know, coaches leave stuff like that, guys transfer. That’s pretty hard to say because everything’s always changing.”
Fields isn’t alone in making this decision or talking to his coaches, his father and family are also very involved and they keep the quarterback focused on the whole picture and not just football.
“The main thing they stress is education because you know, they always say football doesn’t last forever,” Fields said of his family message to him. “After college, if I don’t make it to the NFL, they want me to have a degree. Not only a degree but a degree from a good school, so then have the opportunity to be successful in my life with not only football.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Fields plans to visit Penn State for its spring game this month but the quarterback is listening to other schools. Fields talks very highly of McElwain and Nussmeier and the opportunity to compete for the quarterback job early on.