The Florida Gators are in desperate need of offensive linemen in the class of 2015 and on Sunday they lost one of their top targets when Jalen Merrick committed to Arkansas over Florida.
Head coach Jim McElwain and his staff didn’t waste anytime getting a new target on the and the Gators spoke to offensive lineman Rob Dowdy (6-5, 296, Westerville, OH South) about taking an official visit to Florida.
“I talked to Coach [Drew] Hughes on Sunday night,” Dowdy said. “He was just telling me that he wanted me to come down for a visit. I told him I was coming down this weekend so he was just trying to get everything finalized. He said that everyone wanted to meet me.”
Hughes was the one on the phone with Dowdy on Sunday but two other coaches are expected to talk to the offensive linemen soon.
“I’m supposed to talk Coach Summers on either Monday or Tuesday,” Dowdy said. “Coach Hughes said that Coach [Mike] Summers and Coach McElwain wanted to talk to me about a potential offer and that they would talk more about it on the official visit this weekend.”
The message from Florida is simple when it comes to recruiting offensive linemen as the Gators can just show the depth chart off to the prospects.
“Coach Hughes was telling me about the need for linemen at Florida because they only have seven linemen returning for next year,” Dowdy said. “He was telling me that they had a real need for linemen in this class. I think it’s a positive for any linemen coming in this year.”
Dowdy never heard from the past staff at Florida but no fear as the talented lineman says he’s interested in Florida and he knows what the Gators can offer him.
“I’ve always had interest in Florida but this is the first time that I’ve had contact with them,” Dowdy said. “I don’t know that much about Florida so that’s the big thing for going down there on a visit. I do know that their alumni are fantastic and they are spread out all across the country and a Florida degree is a good one and can do a lot of things for you in the future.”
Gainesville is not a short ride away from Ohio but Dowdy says the distance isn’t something he’s is thinking about as three schools are still vying for his signature on signing day.
“My mom is going to move wherever I end up going so distance isn’t a big factor for me,” Dowdy said. “Kentucky, West Virginia and Florida are the three schools recruiting me the hardest right now and those are the three schools that I plan to visit this month.”
INSIDERS TAKE: A good visit this weekend could see Dowdy shut down the process in Florida’s favor in my opinion. Dowdy is a big offensive tackle that is a road grader as far as running blocking goes and is someone that would provide depth for the Gators.