Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain didn’t waste much time before he handed out his first scholarship offer and that the lucky prospect was Miami running back commit Mark Walton (5-10, 180, Miami, FL Booker T. Washington) who received the news on Monday.
“Coach [Jim] McElwain offered me on Monday morning, he said I was the first guy he offered, Walton said. “Coach T-Rob was down at my school and he said that the new coaching staff watched my film and my highlights and that they liked my film and that’s why they offered me.”
Walton, who just moved into the Class of 2015 and has been on the Gators radar for sometime, was surprised to finally receive the offer from the Gators.
“It feels good to know that they new coach wanted to offer me so soon,” Walton said. “Florida was one of the offers that I really wanted so it’s a special one. Coach McElwain said that he’s going to come down soon to meet with me so that we can get to know each other.”
Right after Walton received the news from McElwain the Gators defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson spoke to Walton and told him McElwain’s history with running backs.
“Coach T-Rob has been watching me for a long time and he has been pushing for me to get that offer from Florida,” Walton said. “He said that he wasn’t going to pressure me but that I should watch some film on Colorado State and some old film on Alabama to see how Coach McElwain uses his running backs.”
Walton heard that message from Robinson but he had already done his homework on McElwain and he was impressed with some of the guys he has coached in the past.
“I did some research on Coach McElwain and I know that he coached Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson,” Walton said. “I know he uses his running backs a lot and he has a track record of developing running backs and getting them into the league.”
The Gators may have a good coach but getting Walton away from Miami will be tough. However, the door isn’t shut according to Walton.
“I’m solid to Miami but my options are open and I’m looking at other schools,” Walton said. “Georgia, West Virginia, Florida and Louisville are all recruiting me pretty hard and Miami is too.”
In January McElwain will have his shot with Walton when the star running back comes to Gainesville for a visit.
“I’m definitely going to take an official up to Florida,” Walton said. “It will be sometime in January but I’m not sure of what date or anything like that. I also plan to take an official to Louisville and West Virginia.”
When Walton is in Gainesville for his official you can bet that quarterback Treon Harris will be my his side as the two are good friends and played together at Booker T. Washington high school.
“Me and Treon are real close and it would be awesome to play with him in college,” Walton said. “We played ball together for a long time and he’s been telling me that Coach McElwain’s offense is a lot like the offense we run at Booker T and that I should keep all of my options open.
INSIDERS TAKE: Walton has long been waiting for this Florida offer but he’s very close to the staff at Miami and at the end of the day I think it will be tough for him to turn down the Canes but the Gators are preparing for a fight here. Walton is a back that you build your program around and that’s something that Florida needs.