Kan Li / Scout

Jim McElwain happy with Florida Gators buzz in recruiting

An impressive first season under Jim McElwain has changed the perspective of the Florida program for recruits.

After spending the first week of the recruiting contact period preparing for the SEC Championship Game, Jim McElwain knew his staff had a lot of makeup work to do. Florida’s first-year coach called it a good problem to have since his team was preparing for a league championship, and they made up for it as much as possible.

After losing to Alabama in Atlanta on December 5, the Florida staff was out on the road the following day to see multiple prospects. They continued to travel the country throughout the week before hosting official visitors on the weekend, and many of the coaches were back on the road Sunday night before the dead period hit at midnight.

The feedback from recruits and high school coaches was positive after the Gators’ surprising 10-win season.

“I thought we had great momentum, great headway as we’re moving forward in this,” McElwain said. “Obviously renewed interest and excitement about guys being Gators. That’s what it’s all about. We’re really excited about that.”

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Florida’s success on the field turned heads from recruits all over the country, but that’s not the only reason for the renewed interest in playing for the Gators. McElwain pointed to the administration’s support for the facility improvements in Gainesville as playing a big role in why prospects are now more interested in Florida.

“I’ll tell you what, the energy’s great,” McElwain said. “The direction we’re headed because of the commitment of our administration on a lot of the things people were beating us up on -- let’s just talk about it -- the lack of facilities.

“Other people go and see the commitment that they’ve had at (other) programs and they go, ‘Well, what’s wrong with Florida.’ Well, we’ve got that commitment now, and that’s a great thing. A lot of good things moving forward.”

Florida currently has the No. 1 class in the country with 25 commitments, two coming from the junior college ranks while the other 23 are from high school. The Gators have one five-star commitment, 10 four-star commitments and 12 three-star commitments. 

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