Last year the Florida Gators recruiting class had three players from the state of Alabama in it and the coaching staff is trying to add more Alabama players in the 2017 class.
On Wednesday the Gators coaching staff hosted one of the top Alabama prospects for practice when receiver Henry Ruggs (6-0, 171, Montgomery, AL Robert E. Lee) was in Gainesville.
“The visit went well, I had a good time,” Ruggs said. “I was able to view the campus a little and see how the players conduct themselves in practice. I got to see how practiced flowed and talk to a few of the coaches after practice was over.”
Ruggs spent a majority of his time watching receivers coach Kerry Dixon and the receivers and he left impressed by Dixon.
“I think the practice was good,” he said. “Practice flowed well and it seemed very productive for them. I watched Coach Dixon and he seems to be a laid back coach but he gets his word out to his players and they look as if they all respect him very well.”
Dixon got the chance to sit down and talk with Ruggs on Wednesday and he laid out how the Gators could get the receiver the ball in the Florida offense.
“He was basically just saying that just because I may be young that I will still have a chance to compete,” Ruggs said. “He said I could compete for a spot in practice because everyone is getting physical reps instead of just standing around watching. He expressed the need for a playmaker and that could be me. He says that I would play a little inside and outside because of how they create match-up problems.”
Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain is very popular in Ruggs’ hometown of Montgomery and the two got the chance to speak at length on Wednesday.
“Coach McElwain said that he would love to have me be a part of the program,” he said of McElwain’s message. “He said that he was looking for the next Percy Harvin and he was saying I have the opportunity to be just that for them.”
Last year Florida’s offense wasn’t as good as McElwain wanted it to be but Ruggs sees how good the offense can be when run correctly.
“Their offense is interesting to me,” Ruggs said of Florida’s offense. “It’s interesting because they’re always looking for ways to create match-up problems. I feel as if I could fit into the offense well because they would create match-up problems with me.”
Heading into the visit Ruggs didn’t know much about the Gators but he says the visit helped Florida out.
“The visit really helped Florida’s chance,” he said of his visit. “I’m interested in Florida but I don’t have any leaders in my recruitment at this moment.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Ruggs is one of the top receivers in the southeast and one of, if not the best player in Alabama this year. Alabama has been the team to beat for Ruggs but the Gators made up ground this week.