The Florida Gators seem to come on late in the recruitment of Elijah Stove, but that was more a product of a new staff involved in his recruitment when Jim McElwain was hired with the Gatos a little over a year ago.
It sees the Gators have made up for a lot of lost time with his recruitment, especially receiver coach Kerry Dixon.
“I am getting to know all the coaches,” Stove said shortly after arriving for the week of practice and the Under Armour All-American Game. “I didn’t get to know them that much early. Coach Dixon reminds me of my uncle that coached at Bethune Cookman. He’s real hard on me. He knows I can be great and can get on the field.”
The Gators started recruiting Stove for both sides of the ball. Blessed with exceptional quickness and speed he could play corner or receiver at the college level, they at first wanted him to try his hand at both if he chose Florida.
“They have been telling me about playing both ways, but it’s kind of hard in the SEC,” he said with eyes wide open. “I do it now, but college football is something else. They see I am an explosive player, I am smart on the field. I know what to do when I get the ball in third down situations and game time situations.”
Stove visited the Gators for the game against Vanderbilt. A last minute field goal was needed to win the game, and the offense wasn’t producing, but he got to experience a crowd and atmosphere he wasn’t expecting.
“I knew Florida would be loud and a big atmosphere, I didn’t know it would be like that,” he said. “I like Florida a lot.”
Born in Alabama, Auburn doesn’t seem like an illogical choice for the young man, but he said people around town in Niceville think otherwise.
“A lot of my teammates and people I go to school with keep telling me to go,” he said.
He will visit Auburn on January 15, Florida on January 22, and then has a date to visit Miami on January 29. He says right now it is the two SEC programs that have most of his focus and signing day will be his final decision.
“I am still looking around, not going to count any school out,” he said. “I am really just looking at Auburn and Florida. I am solid (with Auburn) for now, but I am still going to look at Florida.”
Stove’s mom is an Auburn fan and dad is an Alabama fan. So what if he chose the Gators?
“He’d probably like it better than if I went to Auburn,” he said.
For Florida it sees like they just need to keep pushing for Stove. He says he wants to make sure the line of communication stays open.
“I just want them to keep in contact,” he said about what it would take to flip from Auburn. “There was a point where no coaches hit me up and Auburn kept on.