If you asked the Florida Gators coaching staff what they must get this year in recruiting this year, I think most would say a JUCO offensive lineman to help get instant depth on a young offensive line.
Good news for Florida is that JUCO offensive lineman Branton Autry (6-4, 320, Coffeyville, KS Coffeyville JUCO) just recently came up with a top five that includes the Florida Gators.
“I have narrowed it down to a top five of Florida, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Arizona State and Oklahoma,” Autry said. “Baylor is also up there too. The reason that Florida, Ole Miss and Arkansas are standing out is because they’re in the SEC and that’s where I’ve always dreamed of playing. The other three schools I have a good relationship with them.”
Offensive line coach Mike Summers and receivers coach Kerry Dixon both visited Autry this spring and left a big message for Autry to think about.
“Florida came by twice to see me this spring,” Autry said. “They told me that I’m a priority to them and that they really need me. They told me that they will wait however long they need too because they just want me bad.”
Any JUCO prospect looking to enroll at a school will tell you that they want to play early and Autry sees that opportunity at Florida and it’s weighing on him heavily.
“Coach Summers says they need to come in and play early for them because they’re short on linemen,” Autry said. “That’s on my mind big time because wherever I go I want to play right away. That’s huge to me and that’s the only thing I’m worried about.”
Summers knows he needs help on the line and he’s making Autry a priority as the two get to know each other.
“I’m building a real good relationship with coach Summers,” Autry said. “I talk to him a lot, I just talked to him this week. We have good conversations about me coming to Florida and getting playing time there.”
Earlier this spring it looked like Autry would have just two years of eligibility left when he signs this year but that may change soon.
“I might redshirt this season so that I’ll have three years left when I go to my next school,” Autry said. “I’ll graduate in December so I’ll arrive at my school in January ready to play.”
Now that Autry is finished with his spring semester of school the Mobile, Alabama native is focusing on taking some visits and the Gators are on the list.
“I really don’t know when I’m going to make my decision but I’m planning my visits out now,” Autry said. “I’m going to be visiting Florida for an unofficial visit sometime this summer and then I’m going to return for an official visit in the fall. My plan is to take two officials this summer and three during the fall.
INSIDERS TAKE: Florida is beginning to gain ground on Autry but right now I think Arkansas should be considered the favorite. If the Gators do indeed get Autry on campus twice for visits then you have to like Florida’s chances here for the Mobile, Alabama native.