Offensive lineman John Simpson (6-4, 288, North Charleston, SC Fort Dorchester) visited Florida on Saturday and while he made the trip down to Gainesville without an offer, that changed quickly.
“Coach [Jim] McElwain and coach [Greg] Nord called me in the office and told me about the offer together,” Simpson said. “Coach McElwain was telling me about how bad they need offensive linemen because they only have six right now. He was telling me that I would be a really important addition to the offensive line.”
This was the first opportunity for Simpson to meet the Gators coaching staff and he liked the approach that McElwain took with him.
“Coach McElwain and coach Nord were both interesting guys,” Simpson said. “Coach McElwain explained things to me differently than most coaches do, he was real in depth with explaining things. Both of them were explaining how good the academics were at Florida.”
Offensive line coach Mike Summers has been trying to get Simpson down on a visit for some time and Summers showed his appreciation for Simpson visiting on Saturday.
“Coach Summers and I had a good conversation, it wasn’t long but it was good,” Simpson said. “He was just letting me know that he was glad that I was able to make it down and that he hoped I had a good time. He wanted me to know that he wanted me.”
The Gators didn’t look great on offense on Saturday but Simpson found the positive in the Gators outing during the spring game.
“The offense was all right because it was kind of impressive that they were able to play with the walk-ons,” Simpson said. “I liked the of offense but I like any style offense that I get to play in. I did like that there was an opportunity there but I’m not sure if I want to redshirt my first year or not yet.”
Heading into the visit Simpson wasn’t sure what to expect from Florida but the Gators blew him away, he says.
“I’m still pretty open right now,” Simpson said. “When I came to Florida, I wasn’t expecting to like it like I did so I was like ‘oh. I really liked the atmosphere’ and I liked how they treated me down there on my first visit. This visit definitely helped Florida’s chances.”
Right now five schools stand out as Simpson as he’s closing down his recruitment until after spring ball is over for his high school.
“Florida, South Carolina, Clemson, LSU and Tennessee are five schools that I like,” Simpson said. “I don’t plan to make any other visits until this summer but I want to get out to LSU and Tennessee and I also want to visit Florida again.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Heading into the visit Simpson was all but headed to South Carolina but the Gators improved their chances a good bit. A return trip is key for Florida if they want to improve its chances with Simpson.