“Recruit daily or die”
The McElwain Train continues to pick up steam.
When new Florida Gators head football coach Jim McElwain took the reins of the program he immediately went to work shoring up the 2015 recruiting class which had a paltry 8 low rated commitments, finishing with a respectable top 20 class.
Perhaps, even more importantly, however, he went to work building relationships for the 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes as well.
With only two realistic options at quarterback on the roster (redshirt freshman Will Grier and true sophomore Treon Harris) coach Mac tried fruitlessly to reel in a top target at QB last cycle.
To date, they’ve fallen short of any of their top targets for 2016 as well with one remaining on the board (Dillon Sterling-Cole from Houston Westlake).
Not to worry Gator fans as the staff was able to reel in a big fish on Wednesday for the 2017 class when Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas QB Jake Allen pulled the trigger for Florida.
“It was a dream offer 100 percent. I’ve always dreamed of going to Florida,” Allen told Andrew Spivey of Gatorcountry.com.
So what are the Gators getting with Allen?
To begin with, they’re getting a player first and foremost.
His stock has been skyrocketing after winning MVP of the inaugural Rivals Quarterback Challenge last month.
Shortly after taking home the hardware from Rivals, he received his “dream offer” from the Gators after seeing him throw live at their camp.
Allen (6-3 193) is a tall, rangy pro-style QB with a strong arm and solid mechanics.
What really stands out on tape, however, is his ball placement. He’s not only very accurate, he has a knack for throwing a catchable ball and putting it where his receivers can get it and make plays after the catch.
He has a great tutor in former Gator and Marshall Thundering Herd Division II-A national championship winning QB Eric Kresser who had to be pleased with Allen’s commitment.
Kresser tutors Allen for his company Kresser Passing Academy.
Secondly, and equally important, the Gators are getting an early bellwether for the 2017 recruiting class. Great classes almost inevitably require a leader who isn’t just a top talent but possesses the charisma to help recruit other top players to join him. A good example is the Gators 2006 class which skyrocketed up the rankings after the charismatic Tim Tebow announced for the Gators. Top linebacker talent Brandon Spikes famously mentioned that he signed with the Gators because he was going wherever Tebow was going.
Not only do top programs need top talent but top players want to play with other top players, particularly at QB.
With two solid young players already competing on campus, Allen’s commitment takes some pressure off the staff to sign a top guy this cycle although they will continue to recruit Sterling-Cole for depth and competition purposes. If this staff has shown anything it’s that they will work tirelessly to overcome roster shortcomings.
Theres an old cliche that a coaches third class is his most important. The first class is almost always a waste as the staff tries to hold what it inherits and simoly tries to shore it up. The second class, particularly now with recruitng beginning earlier every year, is often also difficult as the new staff is still behind at relatiinship building with recruits.
The third class, which in coach Mac’s case is the 2017 cycle, is the first one in which they are on equal footing. And with Allen comfortably in the fold everything looks rosy for the Gators. With a solid product on the field in the fall, particularly on offense, expect the 2017 floodgates to begin to open up for the Gators.
Allen is the second commitment for the Gators 2017 class along with wideout Lavarus Tigner.