The Florida Gators recruiting efforts have already landed them a quarterback for the 2017 class, but with low numbers at the position, Head Coach Jim McElwain and Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier are actively searching for another.
2017 Quarterback Z’Khari Blocker (6-1, 185, Pensacola, FL, Catholic) grew up watching the Florida Gators and has arrived in Gainesville for Friday Night Lights with just one thing on his mind.
“To get offered by Florida,” he said of why he made the trip this week. “That’s all.”
Blocker has been in constant contact with the coaching staff, especially Drew Hughes, area recruiter Mike Summers and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier this spring and summer but still hasn’t received a scholarship offer. Blocker plans to throw on Friday night under the lights at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and he’s been told what the staff wants to see from him in order to get the offer he’s been waiting on.
“They just want to see me throw around,” Blocker said. “They want to see my form and just see me sling it around.”
After arriving on campus on Thursday afternoon, Blocker had the opportunity to sit down with Nussmeier and talk in his office.
“He’s a good guy. I just talked to him in his office,” Blocker told Gator Country Thursday afternoon. “He was just saying that he wants to see me spin it at camp.”
Blocker was eager to lace up his cleats and compete on Friday night. He wants an offer from the University of Florida and he knows that Friday is his chance. Blocker is in Gainesville with a group called City Streets 2 Student Athletes, a program that was designed to “deter athletic students from drugs and crime in the city streets and develop them into productive student-athletes,” according to their website. With him are kids he grew up playing football with, including 2018 receiver Jacob Copeland (6-1, 188, Pensacola, Fla, Pine Forest). Having a receiver with him will help Blocker stay relaxed and give him some familiarity as he runs through drills.
“All of us knew each other since we were little kids,” he said. “So I’ve always been throwing with them”
Also adding an edge to the evening is the fact that Florida’s 2017 quarterback commit Jake Allen (6-2, 195, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., St. Thomas Aquinas) will be at Friday Night Lights working out alongside Blocker. That adds some fuel to his fire and gives Blocker a heightened sense of competition.
“That’s always in the back of my mind,” he said. “At the same time I gotta play my own game.”
Blocker got the red carpet treatment on Thursday, getting a tour of the campus and the facilities. “The stadium, all the facilities and especially the Heisman trophies,” he said. “It’s nice. Everything is really nice.”
Thursday was the day to acclimate. Friday is the day to compete and try to earn the offer he’s been waiting his whole life for.