Florida Gators aiming to take back the state

Speaking back in his hometown, Florida Gators new Associate Head Coach and Linebackers Coach Randy Shannon laid down the new recruiting plan that he and Jim McElwain have put into place.

The Cliff Notes version: Dominate South Florida.

The past four years, the Gators had designated just one coach to the area south of Orlando. Travaris Robinson did a good job developing relationships and bringing in recruits, but, as Shannon pointed out to McElwain, recruiting the fertile grounds south of I-4 is far from a one-man job.

“I said, ‘I can’t do South Florida by myself. Do you realize that there are 68 schools in Dade County?’” Shannon told the Miami Gator Club last week. “You put four counties together up north and they still don’t get to 40 schools. 68 in Dade, 54 in Broward and I think 48 in Palm Beach. So in turn, what we’ve done is put six coaches in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. We’ve targeted the South Florida region.”

Shannon was the easy choice to stick down in South Florida. He was born and raised in Miami and spent all but a couple of years of his coaching career there as well. He knows the schools, the coaches, the people and he’s already showing a return on the decision to place him there.

According to Rivals.com, the Florida Gators offered 60 total players from the state of Florida in 2014 and 56 in 2013. McElwain and his staff had offered 64 by the middle of March and if Florida has their way, they’ll have a significant South Florida presence on their roster in the coming seasons.

“We’ve got 85 scholarships. So what we’re trying to do is get 20 guys from South Florida – from South Florida across to Naples, 20 guys from Orlando across to Tampa and 20 guys from Jacksonville, Ocala and across to Pensacola,” Shannon told the Miami Gator Club. “That’s 60 guys. We take the remaining 25 scholarships and go up to South Georgia, up to Atlanta and then nationwide.”

The previous coaching staff was never able to win the state in recruiting. As the School Out West racked up wins on the field, recruiting wins in the state followed suit. Shannon has opened McElwain’s eyes to the talent pool in South Florida and the Gators now, finally, have a team of coaches ready to attack the area and take back the state.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC