McElwain Pitch: Gators take care of Gators

Jim McElwain and his staff has been on the recruiting trail since his hiring in December. The past success at the University of Florida football program sells itself, but he is adamant about pointing out the other aspects of being a Gator.

As important as it is for Jim McElwain to land the best high school players he can to be Gators, it is just as important to get the right people for Florida. A mixture of both is the ideal they are looking for.

“We’ve got some really good things going on and yet the key for us is to not only get some really good players, but players that fit at the University of Florida,” he said before meeting with the Jacksonville Gator Club. “That’s something that we’re really making sure that a lot of those intangibles are really taken care of.”

Getting some of the right people early in the process can help with recruiting the rest of the class.

“You like those guys that effect people around them in a positive way,” McElwain said. “Those are the kind of guys we’re going after naturally and a lot of those guys do a great job of helping.”

Momentum is a big part of the recruiting process. Getting the right people that can attract more of the right people is very important.

“I think it’s huge,” he said of momentum in the process. “And yet part of that momentum is created by the type of guy that you recruit and the type of guy that commits. A lot of those guys are your best recruiters. As they talk to other guys at their all-star camps, the momentum you gain is related to the guys that are already committed to you.”

The things they are preaching to the prospects about Florida are helping.

“I think the vision and the direction and the plan and how they fit into this plan,” he said. “We’ve answered a lot of the things that people pound on us with facilities and that kind of thing. We have great support on campus to get a lot of that changed and we’ve made some changes already. A lot of those things are real positive.

In the end, the biggest sellers on the recruiting trail are the people that make up the alumni base. 50,000 students a year are on campus for one of the largest alumni bases in the country. The school is the predominant university in the state in terms of alumni success and numbers.

“You know we have a lot of good things and at the end of the day this football thing doesn’t last forever,” McElwain said. “I found out when I coached in the national Football League that nobody has played forever.

“At the end of the day the place you go to school and the place you are going to come back to, the area you’re going to come back to. The great advantage we have is that Gators are going to take care of Gators.

“It’s about giving them opportunities when their playing days are over. To help them be successful and with their family lives and that kind of thing moving forward. This game of football is short lived. There are a lot of years left. That’s a great advantage we have, being where we’re related, the amount of graduates we have and at the end of the day Gators take care of Gators.”

Visiting Jacksonville for his spring long tour of Gator Clubs, McElwain took a minute to talk about two of the prospects in his first recruiting class he signed back in February. Kalif Jackson attended Fletcher HS in Neptune Beach and enrolled in Gainesville in January.

Tyler Jordan is an offensive lineman from Bishop Kenny that will be enrolling this summer. He was catamount in helping put together the 2015 class.

“Kalif came in and got his feet wet early and got a lot of reps for us,” McElwain said. “He did a good job. I am really excited about Tyler. He’s really the guy that first said yes to our vision and the direction we were headed. He did a fantastic job of spreading the word and the energy. As you know from a numbers stand point, he’s a guy that will be in the fast pass line to get up there and get some reps real early as all of those offensive linemen will.”

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