Three-star safety Perkins-McAllister “got the chills” on UF visit

If used properly, Zoom tours and phone calls can serve as powerful recruiting tools for a coach. Highly coveted recruits can still build relationships with college coaches and get a sense for which college will best help them achieve their goals. And, of course, the best salespeople can sell anything to anybody using whatever medium is available to them.

Still, there’s no substitute for in-person visits to campus for elite high school football players. There’s a certain energy that simply doesn’t translate through a screen. Three-star safety D’Arco Perkins-McAllister discovered that when he visited Florida for the Gators’ junior day event on Tuesday.

“It was great,” Perkins-McAllister said. “It was really a good visit. I feel like the best part about it was being inside the stadium. When they turned the sound on, yeah, I kind of got the chills out there.

“I was kind of seeing myself in it, like, playing football inside of it.”

Perkins-McAllister, a rising senior at Stratford STEM Magnet High School in Nashville, got to explore the UF campus and meet with the coaches for the first time. He spent the most time with safeties coach Wesley McGriff, who he referred to as “a cool coach.” He said he’s spoken with McGriff daily as of late, but he felt a different kind of energy from him in-person.

He was also impressed by the setup the Gators have inside the Hawkins Center, the athletic department’s academic building.

“I like the academic center, like, where the student-athletes learn at,” Perkins-McAllister said. “I like how it’s organized and stuff.”

Despite only being ranked No. 630 in the 247Sports composite, he said Florida’s coaches have told him that they like his versatility. Perkins-McAllister can play safety, nickelback or even cornerback. Being able to disguise coverages by moving him around would help defensive coordinator Todd Grantham confuse quarterbacks and generate big plays.

His recruitment is a little difficult to figure out. He’s scheduled to visit Kentucky, South Carolina and TCU later this month. He also said that he’s interested in Michigan, and the in-state Tennessee Volunteers could also be a factor. Oregon was thought to be in play for him until he canceled his official visit that was scheduled for this weekend. LSU could also be a threat.

Perkins-McAllister said he wants to take an official visit to UF sometime soon, but it will depend on his dad’s schedule as to when he makes it back on campus.

He said that he doesn’t have a leader right now but wants to announce his college decision prior to the start of his senior year of high school.

If that’s the case, the Gators have to be considered among the favorites given the impression the Swamp made on him on Tuesday and his desire to return soon for an official visit.

Ethan was born in Gainesville and has lived in the Starke, Florida, area his entire life. He played basketball for five years and knew he wanted to be a sportswriter when he was in middle school. He’s attended countless Gators athletic events since his early childhood, with baseball being his favorite sport to attend. He’s a proud 2019 graduate of the University of Florida and a 2017 graduate of Santa Fe College. He interned with the University Athletic Association’s communications department for 1 ½ years as a student and has spent the last two football seasons writing for He is a long-suffering fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Rays. You can follow him on Twitter @ehughes97.