After not taking a linebacker in the 2014 recruiting cycle the need for linebackers in the Class of 2015 is huge and last week the Gators visited one of their top targets twice in one week.
That prospect was linebacker Justin Hilliard (6-2, 225, Cincinnati, OH ST. Xavier) who had two different assistant coaches by his school.
“Coach [D.J.] Durkin and Coach [Brian] White visited me this past week,” Hilliard said. “It was Coach Durkin one day and then Coach White came on Friday. It was pretty cool to see them come by and to be able to see both Coach Durkin the defensive coordinator and also my area recruiter Coach White in the same week.”
Hilliard and the Gators talk frequently but it’s usually defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin who talks to him from Florida.
“I usually talk to Coach Durkin once a week so when I called him last week it wasn’t anything new,” Hilliard said. “We just have a lot of small talk about when I’m going to visit and stuff like that. I told him it will probably be [late] June before I get to visit but that I was going to for sure visit Florida.”
When Hilliard talks to Durkin, the Gators linebacker coach makes sure to explain to the Ohio native how he will fit into the defense at Florida.
“Coach Durkin has been telling me that he sees me fitting into the defense at the inside linebacker position,” Hilliard said. “We are supposed to watch film when I go down there for a visit. I know that Florida always has a top defense so I’m ready to see how I will fit into the defense.”
Hilliard was planning to narrow things down earlier this month but that didn’t work and now he plans to trim his list after a visit to Gainesville.
“I don’t really have any leaders right now, I will probably narrow it down to a top-5 or something after spring,” Hilliard said. “Florida will possibly be in my top-5 but it really depends on how well my visit goes when I get down there.”
Ohio State is a school that has been talked about a lot in regards to a potential destination for Hilliard but he says another BIG 10 school that his brother attends is recruiting him the hardest.
“Iowa is the school recruiting me the hardest followed by Ohio State right now,” Hilliard said. “Florida recruits me hard as well though.”