Eddie Piniero, whose vines are plastered all over social media showing him kicking 70+ yard field goals off a tee, had been committed to Alabama for a while.
Despite this, head coach Jim McElwain continued to recruit him as the Gators kicking game woes continued to mount.
After a tough 27-2 loss to rival Florida State, McElwain made finding a kicker a top priority.
“We’ll get a kicker,” McElwain announced. “That’s our responsibility and we’ll get one. And we’ll get a good one.”
That weekend the Gators hosted one of the largest recruiting contingents in their history which included Piniero who got an up-close look at the Gators kicking issues.
On Sunday, Piniero tweeted a picture of him and coach Mac riding around Gainesville.
He appeared to really enjoy his official visit mixing it up with students and prospective recruits.
McElwain continued to press with an in-home visit last week.
However, despite all the love and attention from Gator Nation, Piniero remained committed to Alabama.
He took his final visit this past weekend, the last before the recruiting dead period begins, to Tuscaloosa to visit the Crimson Tide.
As expected, he appeared to enjoy this visit as well.
He came out of that visit apparently torn between the school he had been committed to for some time and the home state school that treats him like a rock star.
He told SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi,
“Not doing interviews… It’s a stressful time.”
By Monday evening, however, he decided to decommit from the Crimson Tide.
With him choosing between the Tide and the Gators, it’s unlikely he’ll flip back to Alabama, but in recruiting anything and everything is possible.
With the JUCO signing period beginning on Wednesday, it’s likely Piniero makes his decision and announcement on Tuesday, but he could take longer.
Piniero is a mid-year JUCO graduate academic-wise so he’ll enroll in January, but he did not play football and as such he will have his full four years still to play.
Another top rated player down to the Gators and a close rival is quarterback Jacob Eason from Lake Stevens (WA).
Eason has been committed to the Georgia Bulldogs since July of 2014. He remained committed despite the loss of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo who took over at Colorado State after McElwain left for Florida.
However, as rumors of head coach Mark Richt being on the hot seat began to spread, Florida reached out to him and Eason responded.
Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who had built a relationship with Eason while coaching at Michigan, began following him on Twitter and Eason obliged him through DM’s.
The contact was blown over as merely Florida grasping at straws seeking answers to their quarterbacking woes after Will Grier was suspended for a calendar year.
And as the season wore on it appeared that Richt might survive the talk of his firing.
It wasn’t, and he didn’t.
Richt was fired shortly after the season ended and a shocked Eason immediately made contact with Florida.
He took a hastily arranged official visit during the week of the SEC championship game.
By all accounts it was a good visit where he was able to witness the team during game preparation and get a good feel for what it’s like as a player.
With Georgia having a new head coach Eason hadn’t yet met and no offensive coordinator, it appeared the Gators had gained the upper hand in his recruitment.
Many were calling coach Mac the quarterback whisperer and considering coach Nuss’s tight relationship with Jacob and his family it appeared to be a no-brainer that Eason would flip.
He didn’t, however, and remains committed to Georgia to this day.
After getting in-home visits from Mac and Nuss as well as Kirby Smart, Eason took his official visit to Georgia this past weekend where he got to meet new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney who came to Athens after one year with Pitt.
As has been the case throughout, the family has been somewhat tight lipped about where he might be leaning but said they would meet as a family and come to a decision.
On Monday evening Eason tweeted that he would be announcing his final choice on Tuesday.
Eason is an early entry candidate as a mid-year graduate and will enroll at the school of his choice in January.