It’s the recruiting dead period for prospective college football athletes until January 15th meaning college coaches cannot initiate contact with recruits.
For the Florida Gators, who have a new head coach and only coordinators officially on staff at this point, it means recruiting has slowed considerably. It doesn’t mean it has stopped completely, however, as recruits can initiate contact with staff members themselves.
While much of the focus for the last two weeks has been on hiring a new staff, there are still some nuggets to be found on the recruiting trail for the Gators.
For the Gators and new head coach Jim McElwain, it all begins with finding a quarterback for this class.
One guy on the outside looking in is former qb commit Sheriron Jones from Moreno Valley, CA Rancho Verde. According to Luke Stampini of 247sports , Jones hasn’t heard at all from the new staff but has indicated he’d reconsider the Gators if he did. Not likely to happen though.
While Jones was the guy the previous staff settled on after missing on other in-state targets, McElwain is apparently looking in a different direction. A couple of different directions actually.
First up is the guy at the top of their qb recruit list Deondre Francois from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. He’s a guy the previous staff was very high on before he committed to FSU. It didn’t take Coach Mac very long to make contact with Francois and let him know he’s the guy they want as the qb in this recruiting class.
For his part, Francois remains “firmly committed” to the Noles but has publicly stated he would take a visit to UF before signing day. With a new staff in place and a strong offensive pedigree between head coach and offensive coordinator, I’d say there’s a better than even chance here for a flip especially considering the Noles currently have three qb’s committed in this class including 5* Malik Henry.
Francois has a solid frame at 6-2 200 with a strong arm and he can get outside the pocket and make plays with his legs when necessary. For Gator fans, eager to finally see some production out of the passing game, Deondre’s performance at Saturday’s Under Armour All American game has to have them champing at the bit to get him to Gainesville. After showing out with a strong week of practice, he finished with a strong performance in the game going 4-4 for 103 yards and a TD.
No visit date has been publicly confirmed as of yet for Francois and it will interesting to see if one indeed takes place or if the Noles put a stop to it.
While Francois is the top qb on the Gators board at this point, 1-A might be Louisville commit Lamar Jackson from Boynton Beach, Florida. Jackson has good size at 6-3 185 with a good frame to add weight. He’s a very raw prospect at this point, however, not nearly as polished a passer as Francois but he might be a better runner.
Jackson has an official visit scheduled to Florida for January 30th the last visit weekend before signing day but remains committed to Louisville. It’s pretty certain that the staff will try to get Francois in before that weekend and put on the full court press for his signature. However, if they are unable to sway Francois look for them to push for Jackson to flip. He has already visited Nebraska and has trips scheduled to Louisville (1/16) and Mississippi State (1/23) but I think ultimately it will be a Louisville/Florida showdown in the end.
Once the dead period ends expect a furious rush to get prospects on to campus the last three weekends in an attempt to salvage a class which lacks any star power at this point. Flipping Francois or Jackson could be the key to opening the floodgates for offensive recruits this cycle, especially skill players. The Gators still have a number of highly rated prospects still considering them so despite the low numbers of commits at this point it could make for a strong finish to this years recruiting class.
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