The Florida Gators and head coach Jim McElwain are trying to rebuild the offensive line position. After a good 2016 class they’re looking to continue that into the 2017 class.
One of the top offensive line targets on the board for 2017 is Kai-Leon Herbert (6-4, 279, Plantation, FL American Heritage), who talks to Florida often over the phone.
“I talk to Florida a lot, they’re my number one school right now,” Herbert said. “I talk to both Coach [Randy] Shannon and to Coach [Mike] Summers over the phone. I usually talk to one of them every day.”
Offensive line coach Mike Summers has explained the need for lineman to Herbert since day one, and that’s the same message as of late.
“Coach Summers says that right now they need to stack up at the offensive tackle position,” he said. “He said that I could come in and help out at the position. Overall the offensive line unit is better than it was last year but Coach Summers says he thinks that I can help it get better. He says they need young tackles.”
Linebackers coach Randy Shannon is the area recruiter for Herbert and the two have developed a good relationship between them.
“Coach Shannon is straight-up with me when he’s recruiting me,” Herbert said. “He said as of now Florida needs offensive lineman and offensive tackles in particular. He just tells me that I have an opportunity there and as a student-athlete I can better myself on and off the field there at Florida. We just talk about everything not just football.”
The Florida Gators are sitting out in front for Herbert and there are several factors that play into that.
“Florida is my number one school because of the relationship I have with the coaches,” he said. “It’s a family atmosphere up there and they treat me good every time I go up there. I just feel like they care about me not only as a player but as a person as well.”
Florida leading for Herbert isn’t just a product of the coaches work, but the lineman’s good friend and current commit Jake Allen has been working hard on the American Heritage prospect.
“Jake is my boy, he used to be my former quarterback at my old school,” Herbert said of Jake Allen. “He tells me that I have an opportunity with him and that he wants me to come block on his blindside for him. I would say that he’s recruiting me the hardest out of everyone. He wants us to play together again.”
Herbert hasn’t visited the Gators since last fall, but that will change soon and a decision could come at any time for the lineman.
“I’m coming back up for the spring game, I’m coming with Jake,” he said. “I’m going to decide before the season. Either during spring or sometime before the season, I haven’t really decided yet.”
INSIDERS TAKE: The Gators are in really good shape with Herbert right now and the offensive lineman would be a big get for the Gators. Herbert is a long athletic tackle that plays the position well.