So I was in attendance when super 4-star Citra (Fla.) North Marion receiver Freddie Swain made it public that he would be continuing his college education and football playing career at Florida. After the ceremony, the media gathered around to ask questions and I got my chance.
Swain’s recruitment has no doubt changed over the last two months and there have been some pretty sharp turns in that recruitment. Right before the season started Swain had a commitment date set for the end of this month. Just before that time Florida really stepped up the recruitment of the elusive play maker and a couple of weeks after the season started, he found others recruiting him hard too and he decided to postpone the commitment from that date.
With plans to take official visits late in the season any planned commitment would likely come before the season. Then, a week ago it all changed. The date got moved up to Friday night where the announcement was made and as we all know now, the young man plans on being a Gator.
So when I got my chance to ask a question, mine was simple. Why did you all of a sudden decide you wanted to do this now? And he said it.
“I saw what I needed to see.”
It was like the clouds in the sky opened up and this bright beacon of light came over Gator Nation. Seven glorious words from one of the top 100 players in America and the thing Gator nation has wanted to see for themselves, but also to hear from top prospects like Swain.
In fact the Gator Nation as a whole has probably all said that over the last few weeks as they watch this team ascend to heights that zero people on the planet said was possible outside of skendall08 on the message boards at Fightin’ Gators.
No one expected this team to do what it has done so far and a lot of prospects like Swain were going to take a wait and see about things. But he, like so many more, has seen it, and now there should be a little more comfort about picking up top prospects on the recruiting trail, a lot of which the Gators are in the running for and look like solid contenders to land.
The fact is, especially on offense, the Florida program has been a dumpster fire and pretty inept when it comes to putting a good looking product on the field. It has been so hard to attract talent to that kind of thing and even with a coaching change, people wanted to see something first.
It’s not like the Gators are lighting the world on fire on offense, but as just mentioned, they also don’t have the horses that would normally be at a place like Florida in order to make things run like they should. What prospects and fans alike are seeing is the ability to get things done, despite those deficiencies.
The fact that Florida’s defense still looks like the top defense in the conference despite losing the leaders on staff they had on that side of the ball, has to be equally eye opening. Again, it is for the fans.
So where does that lead us with this 2016 recruiting class?
It won’t likely open the flood gates, but more so allow for several big time prospects that were looking at Florida to feel more comfortable about following through with picking the Gators. In a sense, Swain could be the first drop of an avalanche of recruits that actually could feel like the flood gates are open.
Maybe the Gators don’t finish the season like they started. They are paper thin at several units on offense in terms of players that can make a difference and do it now. They are likewise that thin at linebacker. An injury or two in some of those units and things could get tough to overcome.
But, these are the kinds of things the prospects, and the fans, were expecting to already see this year and haven’t. The future looks bright and Freddie Swain was the first to really go on record and say it.
“I saw what I needed to see.”