The Florida Gators recruiting class of 2018 has plenty of options at defensive back as this year is a loaded year for the position both in state and in the southeast.
Last Saturday the Gators hosted one of those top defensive back targets when Randy Russell (5-11, 180, Opa Locka, FL. Carol City) visited Gainesville.
“The visit was awesome, it was a great visit,” Russell said of his Florida visit. “I got to meet with the coaches, talk with Coach McElwain and be around some of the guys. We got to go to the basketball game and see the academic center which was great.”
Unlike most defensive backs that visit Florida, Russell is no stranger to defensive backs coach Corey Bell or to another new assistant coach.
“It was good to see him again,” he said on Coach Bell. “Knowing that two of the guys that have been recruiting me the longest and that I’ve established a relationship with the longest that are now on the same side it almost felt like a reunion. Coach [Jajuan] Seider and Coach Bell have been those guys to me.”
Russell has one of the longest relationships with Bell so he has a pretty good feel of what Bell is like as a person.
“Coach Bell is laid back and pretty chill,” Russell said of Bell. “He’s like the rest of the coaches there and that’s what you see is what you get. That’s a good thing. They’re not going to just tell you anything to get you to come there, they’re going to tell you how it is.”
When Bell and defensive coordinator Randy Shannon met with Russell on Saturday, they explained how the defensive back would fit into the Gators defense.
“They tell me that if I come there that I’m going to probably play the money position,” he said of where he will play at if he comes to Florida. “That’s the position where they move me around a lot. They like the way I play, they say I play physical and fast.”
One of the things that Russell liked about the visit was the chance he had to meet with Gators head coach Jim McElwain.
“I actually didn’t talk much football with Coach McElwain,” Russell said. “The conversation was about life after football and making that forty year plan. Pretty much investing in myself and the ways that I will invest in myself by coming to Florida.”
This was the first time for Russell to meet McElwain and the first impression was a good according to the prospect.
“He’s a pretty cool guy and he seems like a guy that you could come talk to about anything,” he said of his impressions of McElwain. “That’s what stood out the most about him. I liked him.”
Heading into the visit Florida was thought to have been in decent shape with Russell but leaves saying the Gators improved their chances with him.
“It definitely helped Florida out, definitely,” Russell said of the Florida visit. “It was pretty much just me being able to see everything. It’s one thing to talk to coaches but to see them in person it just felt real. To be with Coach Seider, Coach Bell and Coach [Randy] Shannon, Coach McElwain was fun. They didn’t talk much about recruiting, they talked about my personal life and how things were going.”
After the visit, Russell didn’t want to name a leader but he did name some schools that stand out to him.
“No leader but I’m going to cut the schools,” he said. “There’s Florida, Miami, Georgia, North and South Carolina all up there. I’m going to Miami this weekend and then I’ll be back up to Florida for a spring practice.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Florida is in really good shape with Russell following this weekend’s visit to Gainesville. Miami is also squarely in the mix and Georgia is trying to get the picture.