The Florida Gators hosted seven official visitors this weekend including North Carolina State defensive end commit Jabari Zuniga (6-3, 265, Marietta, GA Sprayberry) who enjoyed the five star treatment he received.
“It was great, a great time,” Zuniga said. “We did a lot of things to be honest. We got to stand on the field, go into the press box and eat some food. The food was real good. We got to hang out with some of the players and they treated us well. I also got to meet all of the coaches.”
Zuniga had never met new defensive line coach Terrell Williams until this weekend but Williams made a good first impression according to Zuniga.
“I got to sit down and talk one-on-one with Coach Williams about the defense,” Zuniga said. “He’s a great coach and he seems like a great guy really. He was telling me that he sees me as an edge rusher and that he thinks I can get to the quarterback a lot.”
Head coach Jim McElwain might have one-upped Williams, though, as Zuniga really connected with McElwain during this weekend’s official visit.
“Coach Mac, that’s is my guy, he’s an awesome guy,” Zuniga said. “He’s an awesome coach but a better guy. He was just telling me how much he was going to change the program around and if we buy in then anything can happen with Florida. He’s excited.”
Florida just started to recruit Zuniga a few weeks ago but defensive coordinator Geoff Collins recruited him while he was at Mississippi State and that helped Florida get in the door with Zuniga this weekend.
“Coach Collins is a really funny guy, I’ve known him for a long time,” Zuniga said. “He was just joking with me the entire time I was there, he’s just a funny guy to be around. He also told me that he likes me as a speed rusher off the edge.”
Meeting the coaches was great but Zuniga said something was else was his favorite part of this weekend’s visit.
“My favorite part of the whole visit was getting to walk out of the tunnel,” Zuniga said. “As we were walking out of it, it just hit me that I was in the Swamp. I just looked around and took it all in. It was a good feeling to have. I also liked trying on the Florida jersey.”
Zuniga had his mother in tow with him this weekend and that helped Florida a lot as the Gators have now gotten squarely in the mix for his signature and commitment.
“My mom loved the visit too,” Zuniga said. “I’m still committed to North Carolina State but that might change. I’m going to Arkansas next weekend and I think I’ll have a final decision the Monday after the Arkansas visit. Florida has given me something to think about though.”
Florida will keep the pressure on Zuniga as they will travel to Georgia this weekend to visit the defensive end at his school and home.
“Coach Mac said he would be my house on Tuesday,” Zuniga said. “Coach Williams and Coach Collins said they would be by my school that day too.”
INSIDERS TAKE: I think Florida is in great shape here. Zuniga and his mother really connected with the coaches at Florida and also Zuniga connected with the players at Florida. Coach Collins was able to keep the mood light and that’s something that has helped Florida a lot.