Gator assistants' in-state recruiting targets

Sometimes it is a very difficult piece of the staff puzzle to put together. What assistant coach recruits what area of the state of Florida? When putting a staff together, out-of-state responsibilities can be easier to fill because of past jobs of the staffers, but Jim McElwain has placed a premium on in-state recruiting and wants to maximize the recruiting talents of his staff.

Here is a rundown of the different assistants and the top prospects that they are recruiting in the state of Florida. The list is pretty all-inclusive, but there are some prospects committed elsewhere that they will be recruiting but likely not much of a chance. We left some of those off the list.

Assistant Mike Summers has the territory from Pensacola to West of Tallahassee, an area that isn’t usually a gold mine of prospects, but happens to have a handful of top targets this year. Summers was given the territory last year because the offensive line coach usually has to travel a lot for out-of-state prospects along the line of scrimmage. Summers has some high priority prospects to recruit in panhandle of the state including 4-star DE Janarius Robinson, 4-star WR Elijah Stove, 4-star Saf Romeo Finley, 3-star OG Christion Gainer, and 3-star CB Simeon Smiley. All but Smiley have offers and the first four are prime targets for the staff.

Assistant Greg Nord has the area from Tallahassee all the way to west of Jacksonville, then south to Ocala. It is a pretty wide area to cover, but with a low population density, the numbers of prime targets aren’t there year in and year out. His current list of prospects he is recruiting include 4-star QB Feleipe Franks, 4-star DE Jordan Woods, 3-star TE/DE Jordan Giberti, 3-star DB Korey Charles, and RB Monterius Loggins. Nord is pretty popular with recruits who tend to find him pretty funny when talking to him.

The Jacksonville area and immediate surroundings belong to assistant Tim Skipper The Gators’ running back coach is rumored to be an excellent recruiter and while it doesn’t seem exceptionally deep at this time, Jacksonville will produce many more . The list of top prospects Skipper is after right now include 4-star LB Shaquille Quarterman, 3-star LB Dominique Ross, 3-star DE JaQuan Bailey, 3-star RB Bilal Ally, 3-star WR Rick Wells, and 3-star OG Solomon Kindley. With Bailey and Wells already committed, Quarterman is a huge target and he is currently committed to Miami.

My pick for the most underrated recruiter on staff is assistant Geoff Collins. Collins was given the Orlando area to recruit and that is a huge task for a defensive coordinator. Collins comes with a pretty quiet reputation as a good recruiter and McElwain must have a lot of faith in him to put his coordinator in a place with a lot of big time prospects to cover. While the huge names aren’t in the area, the central Florida spot has a lot of names the Gators are recruiting hard. That list includes 3-star C Brett Heggie, 3-star LB Jonathan Jones, 3-star QB Woody Barrett, 3-star OG Parker Boudreaux, 3-star Ath Tyrek Tisdale, 3-star CB Henry Miller, 3-star Saf Deon Edwards, 3-star WR Eddie McDoom, OT Stone Forsythe, and DB Carlos Becker. There are at least six in the group with offers and only Tisdale committed to the gators at this time, so Collins has his work cut out for him.

Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier recruited central and west Florida at previous jobs. He has been assigned Pasco, Hernando, Sumter, and Pinellas counties. I am sure I am missing some here, but one big time prospect he is recruiting this cycle is 4-star DB Craig Watts. Again, the coordinators are usually the ones that aren’t assigned the most talent rich areas in recruiting.

Probably the assistant with the best reputation as a recruiter is defensive line coach Chris Rumph. It only makes sense that he gets an area he is very familiar with, but also an area that is rich in talent. Rumph will be recruiting the Tampa Metro Area, Manatee and Sarasota counties. He has the area with the most stars, mainly due to Bradenton’s IMG Academy and it includes 5-star DE Shavar Manuel, 5-star CB Saivion Smith, 5-star WR Nate Craig-Myers, 4-stare TE Jacob Mathis, 3-star DE Malik Barrow, 3-star Saf Spencer Perry, 3-star QB Rex Culpepper, and CB Michael Hampton. Of the list, Perry is the only one committed to Florida at this time. Rumph has his work cut out to land some more stars in his area.

Assistant Kirk Callahan was birn and raised in the Tampa area, but McElwain has chosen to utilize his recruiting talents in the Polk County and southwest Florida areas of the state including Ft. Myers and Naples. Three big time prospects in Callahan’s area include 4-star DT Keyshon Camp, 4-star QB Xavier Gaines, and 3-star RB Carlin Fils-Aime.

One of the biggest tasks for any assistant is that of Kerry Dixon. While he will share some of his South Florida recruiting area Dixon will be recruiting from Daytona all the way to Miami along the east coast of the state. As the Gators’ receiver coach there are a lot of receivers in his area. The prospects he is recruiting include 5-star DE Nicholas Bosa, 4-star WR Binjimen Victor, 4-star WR Cavin Ridley, 4-star CB Trayvon Mullen, 4-star WR Darnell Salomon, 4-star WR Sam Bruce, 4-star DB Chauncey Gardner, 4-star DE Patrick Bethel, 4-star RB Amir Rasul, 4-star OG Stewart Reese, 4-star WR Tre Nixon, 3-star LB Devin Bush, 3-star OT Marcus Tatum, 3-star OL Jawaan Taylor, 3-star DE/TE Jachai Polite, 3-star WR Freddie Pinder, 3-star WR Joshua Hammond, 3-star DE Aaron Thompson, 3-star Keyshawn Young, 3-star WR Isaiah Johnson, 3-star WR C.J. Riley, 3-star QB Kato Nelson, and RB Travis Homer. There certainly are more as well.

Of course Dixon will get a lot of help in south Florida with linebacker coach Randy Shannon: Helping land seven of the 2015 class, Shannon will get most of the work done in Miami proper, but will branch out in Broward and Palm Beach Counties as well. His list of big time prospects to recruit include 5-star DE Nicholas Bosa, 4-star WR Binjimen Victor, 4-star WR Cavin Ridley, 4-star CB Trayvon Mullen, 4-star WR Darnell Salomon, 4-star WR Sam Bruce, 4-star RB Amir Rasul, 3-star LB Vosean Joseph, 3-star LB Devin Bush, 3-star WR Freddie Pinder, 3-star DE Eric Mitchell, 3-star DE Aaron Thompson, 3-star Keyshawn Young, and CB Dontye Carriere-Williams. Joseph and Mitchell are already committed to the Gators with Shannon having his sights on many more.

Each assistant will of course share responsibilities on prospects at the position they coach. They also all have various out-of-state areas that they cover, but this is the current plan to blanket the state by McElwain and his new staff.

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