Jernigan Favors 1? Will Visit UF

As we get closer and closer to signing day, just what prospect is looking to sign to what school should start to become clearer. That's the case with most, but this year things are just different. So is the case with five-star defensive tackle Tim Jernigan from nearby Lake City Columbia. As it gets closer to signing day, more of a mystery seems to be coming from Jernigan, but he may have a leader.

The Florida Gators have finally had a chance to extend their full lot into the race for prized defensive tackle Tim Jernigan. The Army All-American spoke his first words to Florida head coach Will Muschamp on Thursday when Muschamp, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and assistant defensive line coach Bryant Young all descended on Lake City to meet with the superstar.

Young met Jernigan last week on his first day on staff, he visited Columbia High School with Gators' recruiting coordinator Stan Drayton. Things seemed to go well and they set up the visit this week with three coaches that would inevitably be in charge of him if he were to sign with Florida. Muschamp and Quinn met Jernigan for the first time on Thursday and all things considered it went well according to Columbia head coach Craig Howard.

"Coach Muschamp, Quinn, and Young came to our campus yesterday and spent most of the day on campus and in Lake City meeting all of the important people in Tim Jernigan's life and spent considerable time with Timmy," Howard said Friday. "They had a great visit and impressed everyone they met and laid out their plans for Tim at Florida."

Howard seemed particularly impressed with the staff that Muschamp has been able to lure with him to coach the Gators. Quinn is an eight year veteran defensive line coach from the NFL an Young is a 14 year veteran pro player with four pro bowl's to his name.

"I thought they were very honest, sincere, and very diligent in their efforts," Howard said of the trio. "They met other people on campus and everyone I talked to were very impressed with the Florida staff.

"They wanted to meet the family and that was off campus, his father is a freshman coach of mine and they also wanted to meet the mother. They wanted to meet as many people as they could that were influential in Tim Jernigan's life.

"Coach Muschamp has done a fabulous job in surrounding himself with some really great coaches," Howard said. "Coach Quinn and Young and how impressive they are is great. Again, I won't be playing for them, Tim will."

Don't let that slip of the tongue fool you, Howard said the Gators are in it, but they still have their work cut out for them. It first starts by trying to get him back on campus for a visit; a place he has been numerous times, but not since this coaching staff has been at the helm.

"They offered him an opportunity for him to have an official visit," Howard said. "He has one left because he is at Florida State this weekend. It will be Tennessee or Florida. It looks like right now it will be Tennessee and for Florida he will make an unofficial visit. It just depends on how it all gets ironed out."

As Howard put it, Tennessee doesn't really seem the team to beat anyway. He believes he is visiting the leader this weekend.

"I hope it all works out," Howard said. "He needs to take a good hard look at Florida, it is only 40 miles from where he grew up, but Florida State looks like the front runner and he is going to be there this weekend. He told myself and Muschamp that he had another recruiting weekend and he was probably going to visit Tennessee."

"It might be midweek next week, I am not sure. He told Coach Muschamp if he didn't take an official visit he definitely would take an unofficial visit and spend time with them on the Florida campus. We have two more recruiting weekends left, so a lot can happen in the last two weeks."

Time is running out and getting Jernigan's attention hasn't been easy. Florida has done everything they can to make an impression with the limited time they have had. Now it is time to wait and see what happens next. Stay tuned as we try and bring it to you.

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