Saturday night was the first opportunity for the Florida Gators recruiting staff to have a visitor’s list for the 2016 football season, and it had a few big names on it.
2018 linebacker Kenny Bastida (6-2, 228, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Deerfield Beach) was one of those guys in Gainesville on Saturday and he liked what he saw from the Gators.
“The visit was good, I really liked it,” Bastida said of the visit to Florida. “I got the chance to talk to the coaching staff after the game was over with. They’re all good people and I felt at home there. It was really loud.”
The Swamp was near a sellout for Saturday night’s game and it was the Gator Nation that impressed Bastida the most.
“The crowd was great, I never seen so many people cheering for one team,” he said of the Florida atmosphere. “On the way to the game, I saw so many cars and people repping the Orange and Blue. It felt like one big country of Gator fans heading to watch their team play.”
Being a linebacker, Batista paid close attention to the Gators defense and to one particular South Florida player.
“I liked the defense a lot, I liked how they swarmed to the ball on every play,” Bastida said of the Gators defense against UMass. “I really liked how the linebackers play. I was impressed by Quincy Wilson and how aggressive and physical he is. I liked how the defense goes hard every single play.”
Linebackers coach Randy Shannon was someone that Bastida watched closely before and during the game and he liked how he used his linebackers during the win.
“Coach Shannon was coaching his guys hard but he was down talking them,” he said of the Gators linebackers coach. “I loved how he used the linebackers and I loved how they played. I liked how they kept Jarrad Davis in the game almost all the time. Jarrad is one of my favorite coaches.”
After the game was over with Bastida got the chance to sit down with Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain and another coach to talk recruiting.
“I got to talk to the defensive coordinator [Geoff Collins] and Coach McElwain after the game,” Bastida said of the coaches he spoke with. “Coach Collins was being funny and saying that both of his linebacker may be leaving this year so he was needing me to come in and suit up.”
This was the first time for McElwain and Bastida to meet and it was good first impression made by the Gators head coach.
“Coach McElwain was being real nice to me and my parents,” he said of his talk with McElwain. “He talked to my mom and he was trying to get her to know her a little bit. He was telling us about the program and what we should know. He was talking to me about how good of a school Florida is.”
Bastida already has double digit offers but he’s waiting on one particular offer and it could be a big one if they offer.
“Florida hasn’t offered yet but they’ve been hinting about it, by saying that I’m on their list” Bastida said of his Florida offer. “A Florida offer would mean a lot because both me and my mom love the school. They would be one of my top schools.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Bastida will likely get an offer from Florida soon and the Gators will have a good shot with the talented linebacker. Bastida is going to be be one of the top linebackers in the state for 2018.