Though it’s hard to fathom for a sector of the Florida faithful, there are some in-state recruits that just don’t want to go to UF.
But if a five-star local kid who grew up rooting for the Gators doesn’t come, the fanbase at large will be up in arms.
Unfortunately for Florida coaches and fans, it appears that’s going to be the case with Lake City Columbia’s Laremy Tunsil.
After his team’s 17-14 loss to Gainesville High School on Thursday, Tunsil revealed he has trimmed his three finalists from the summer to a Top 2 of Georgia and Alabama.
Florida’s fall in the race has been known for over a month, though this was the first time he said it publicly. The Gators remain in the running but are no longer a favorite for the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle.
“They’re still at that third spot,” Tunsil said of the Gators. “But right now I have a Top 2.”
The 6-foot-6, 295-pounder has maintained throughout his recruiting process that Will Muschamp — who was at Thursday’s game with offensive line coach Tim Davis — and the Florida staff recruit him harder than any other school.
“They still send me letters and they still be calling (the most),” Tunsil said.
That may continue all the way to National Signing Day, but it doesn’t sound like it will change things.
He won’t give it a chance to.
Tunsil admitted he doesn’t read any of the letters he receives and hasn’t picked up his phone for any college coaches lately. And despite the efforts of Muschamp & Co., Tunsil said he’s closest to the coaches at Georgia.
And what will be his deciding factor?
“I’m going to say a relationship,” Tunsil said. “I gotta have a relationship with one of the coaches.”
It seems Tunsil’s familiarity with the nearby Gators has worked against them. There’s nothing that intrigues him in Gainesville and that’s one of the reasons why he won’t officially visit UF. On the flip side, each trip he takes to Athens or Tuscaloosa blows him and his family away because it’s a brand new experience.
But perhaps the biggest deterrent for Tunsil is Florida freshman D.J. Humphries, an even higher ranked overall recruit in 2012 and the future at left tackle for the Gators. Tunsil says he loves competition, but he has told people privately that Humphries is a huge turnoff and Georgia’s depth chart is appealing.
There’s nothing wrong with taking playing time into consideration, but if doing so puts UF in bad shape, Gator fans should feel fine with that result.
Make no mistake, Muschamp won’t give up on Tunsil and if he can somehow land him in the end, it will be one of the finest recruiting jobs you’ll ever see. But it will not be the end of the world should he go elsewhere.
Muschamp signed a five-star recruit at the same position last year who is just as talented as Tunsil. Moreover, UF leads for JUCO offensive tackle Trenton Brown (currently a UGA commit) and is battling FSU for former Nebraska offensive tackle Tyler Moore. Don’t forget about Maryland transfer Max Garcia, either.
Watching homegrown talent go to another school — especially a rival — will always be painful for fans, but in this case you can’t fault Florida or the kid given the aforementioned circumstances. Even when things look like a slam dunk for both parties, sometimes it just isn’t meant to be.
Ask Timmy Jernigan.