With the bye weekend finally here, Florida’s coaches are taking a couple of days to check in on some of the top prospects in the Southeast.
NCAA rules allow for seven coaches from a school to be on the road at one time, but for one day 10 coaches can travel. Thursday and today are big days for coaches to go out and make their presences known to committed and uncommitted prospects.
Coaches also can’t have direct contact with prospects, but can talk to coaches and teachers about them and watch their practices and games.
Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who is making the rounds in the state of Georgia, said these two days of recruiting are “huge,” especially with how Florida’s season has gone.
“Recruiting, a lot of it is about momentum and we have to try and generate some momentum,” Austin said. “Every team is going to go through the ups and downs and the big thing is you look at the big picture. … Where’s the program at? Is it solid? Are you going to get what you need out of the program? And is it a right fit for you?
“(Florida’s recruiting momentum) is probably not as hot as it was a few weeks ago, but in another two weeks, it could be great. That’s how it is and it’s kind of a long-term thing. It will even itself out, like a lot of things around here.”
This time of the year is also big for prospects to see how much coach Urban Meyer is getting out to see guys, considering he didn’t travel much during the spring and summer for recruiting.
So far, Meyer is making it known he’s going out to recruit with the best of them. This morning he was at Lake City Columbia to see defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who could arguably be the top player on Florida’s board.
Meyer is also expected to be at West Palm Beach Dwyer’s game at Okeechobee tonight to check out Dwyer defensive end Curt Maggit. Florida has been near the top of Maggit’s list for a while, but Alabama, LSU and Florida State are all making a run at him and he officially visited Wisconsin last week.
Word is someone from Florida has or is planning to check in on Bradenton Manatee running back Mike Blakely, who recently said Florida is slightly leading Auburn. Rumors are flying about a possible commitment from Blakely, but nothing has been confirmed.
Expect Belle Glade Glades Central wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to get a visit from a Florida coach. My guess would be receivers coach Zach Azzanni, who has developed a good relationship with Benjamin since joining Florida’s staff.
Florida coaches should also be in North Carolina tonight to check out Wadesboro, N.C., Anson linebacker Stephone Anthony’s game against Marvin Ridge. Anthony has Florida on top. Committed defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, N.C.) will also get a visit. While committed to Florida, Pagan said he plans to take all of his official visits.
Thursday, quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler was in Ocala to check in on Trinity Catholic safety commit Chris Johnson. These two have developed a pretty good relationship this year. I was also told Daytona Beach Mainland running back Marlin Lane (a Clemson verbal) was visited by a Florida coach Thursday as well.
Even without speaking to recruits, Austin said it’s just as important for prospects to see coaches taking the time to come out to their schools.
“That’s a big thing now, going out to (see) recruits,” he said. “We can’t talk to them, but they gotta know we’re there, we want them and we need them here more.”