One of the biggest needs for the Florida Gators in the class of 2016 is linebackers, as the depth at the position is very thin with guys graduating this year off the roster.
While there is a big need there, the Gators only have two committed so far. Last Monday Florida visited its top linebacker target in Mack Wilson (6-1, 235, Montgomery, AL Carver) at his school in an effort to improve that number in 2016.
“Coach [Kirk] Callahan came by to see me on Monday at my school,” Wilson said. “It was great to see him and Coach Callahan got a chance to talk to my coaches. He also got a chance to see how I was doing in the classroom and stuff like that.”
Since Wilson was unable to talk to Callahan at his school, the linebacker made sure to call the Florida Gators coach that night to get his message.
“I called Coach Callahan later that night to chat about Florida and the Gators,” he said. “He just keeps telling me that I’m a big target for them and that they are going to keep recruiting me hard. He tells me that I can play very early if I choose to go to Florida this year.”
Callahan is recruiting Wilson but Wilson has the best relationship with director of player personnel, Drew Hughes, who is a native of Montgomery, Alabama and he shared some wise thoughts with Wilson.
“I call Coach Drew Hughes all the time to talk about Florida,” Wilson said. “He just tells me he knows how hard it is to get kids out of Alabama, but that Florida is going to recruit me as hard as they can to get me to be a Florida Gator.”
Wilson likes Hughes so much that the linebacker calls Hughes several times during the week just talk to the Florida Gators assistant.
“It means a lot to me that Coach Hughes is on staff there because he knows how it is for me,” he said. “It’s kind of easy to talk to him and it’s something that I like about him and Florida. It’s a big plus.”
Alabama has always been the team to beat in most people’s mind for Wilson but he says that actually isn’t the case.
“I would like to go out of state for college,” Wilson said. “At the end of the day though I’m going to go to the school that best fits me and helps me in my career.”
Wilson has gone on record calling the Florida Gators his leader and he explained why the Gators are atop his list right now.
“The reason Florida is my leader is because of the way the players and coaches bond together,” he said. “Florida felt like home when I took my visit down there and I just enjoyed myself down there. Florida has my major that I’m planning on majoring in and I’ve done a lot of background checks on them, so it’s a good fit. Florida is a great place to be and they have a great coaching staff there.”
The Montgomery, Alabama linebacker is a big time playmaker and he knows that Florida has the opportunity to play as a freshman with its limited depth on the roster.
“The opportunity of playing early at Florida is a big impact because everyone wants to play early,” Wilson said. “Playing time isn’t going to be a problem for me because I feel like I’m going to get the job done by studying and making sure I’m on top of what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Florida Gators linebacker coach Randy Shannon has also been recruiting Wilson as of late and he has shared several messages with the Alabama linebacker.
“Coach Shannon basically just tells me that he wants to coach me real bad,” he said. “He said he’s going to continue recruiting me hard until the end and he has told me about some of the players he has coached at the U. He’s a guy that knows what he’s talking about when it comes to linebackers.”
One other thing that is helping Florida in recruiting Wilson is that the Gators have safety Jeawon Taylor already committed and Taylor is very close with Wilson.
“Jeawon is one of the guys I grew up with and when we were young we always used to talk about playing high school and college ball together,” Wilson said. “He tells me a lot about Florida and that’s how I really keep up with them.”
Last summer was the last time Wilson visited Florida, but that will change sometime next month.
“I’m going to visit them for that Florida State game with Jeawon,” he said. “I’m going to take an official visit to Florida but it will likely be after the season is over with.”
INSIDERS TAKE: The Florida Gators are a real threat to land Mack Wilson and the more Florida can get him on campus then the better shot the Florida Gators have at landing him.