Prospects from all parts of the country were in Gainesville for the Florida Gators football camps last weekend and that included a player from California.
Linebacker Rahyme Johnson (6-4, 215, Los Angeles, CA. Bishop Mora Salesian) made his first trip to Gainesville and enjoyed the different atmosphere that Florida has to offer.
“The visit was good, it was definitely a culture shock coming from LA [Los Angeles], I think I was the only person from the west coast out there,” Johnson said of the visit to Florida. “The city is different because there are trees, ponds and Gators. We don’t have that out here in LA. The stadium was amazing, it was one of the best one’s I’ve seen.”
“Just getting out there seeing it was great. It was a good culture shock for me because the city was big but it isn’t like a downtown LA type of city.”
When Johnson arrived in Gainesville on Friday morning, the entire coaching staff greeted him and that was something that wasn’t lost on the linebacker.
“I loved seeing them, all of the coaches loved me out there,” he said of the coaching staff welcoming him to town. “When I got to the stadium, all of the coaches came out and said what’s up to me. They loved me and want me to come.”
Johnson came on the visit without a Florida Gators offer but head coach Jim McElwain changed that on Saturday morning following Friday Night Lights.
“Coach McElwain was the coach that offered me and told me that there is nothing that compares to being a Gator,” Johnson said. “He said playing in the SEC and being on the best team is great. He also talked about having Elijah Blades out there so I wouldn’t be the only California dude out there. He told me that I could do great things for them and help them out.”
The California linebacker knew that the Gators had interest in him because running backs coach Tim Skipper had been talking to him, so the offer wasn’t a complete surprise.
“It was a little bit of a shock to get it but I was very excited to get it,” he said of the offer. “The whole reason I went out there was to get the offer and to earn it at the camp. I wasn’t necessarily shocked that they offered me because I did great at the camp and I knew they liked my film already. It was just exciting to get the big offer from Florida, a team everybody talks about growing up.”
Linebackers coach Randy Shannon worked Johnson out during the camp and also explained why the Gators want him in Gainesville.
“Coach Shannon said that I fit perfect into their scheme and that I’m the type of dude he’s looking for,” Johnson said of Shannon’s message. “He said that I’m big, long and athletic guy and that we can do great things together at Florida.”
A big reason Johnson visited Gainesville was because of his relationship with Skipper and the two gotten even closer during the weekend.
“Coach Skip is my guy and that’s the guy that I talk to the most from Florida,” he said of his area recruiter. “I hung out with him a lot out there and he’s my guy. He’s telling me that if I come to Florida that my whole life will change because you have Gators all across the country. He said Gators look after you.”
The Florida coaching staff wasn’t the only one recruiting Johnson this weekend, Gators cornerback commit Elijah Blades was also after the linebacker.
“Elijah has been blowing up my phone since I got out there,” Johnson said. “That’s my boy and he’s been telling me that we can take over the SEC together. We play against other in the season and he says together we can do great things. He says there’s nothing like being in the SEC.”
Following the offer and visit the Gators have put themselves up in good shape, and a return trip is coming from Johnson.
“Florida is very high up there, they’re all the way up there,” he said of his Florida interest. “They’re one of my top choices right now and I’m loving Florida. Next is an official visit out there and get my mom and my little sister out there for a visit.”
INSIDERS TAKE: The Gators have a great shot at landing Johnson after a great visit to Gainesville. Florida and Tim Skipper have done a great job on recruiting Johnson and the linebacker would be a great add for the Gators.