Eric Douglas' first trip to Gainesville was a success.
"It was a great visit," said the offensive tackle from Charlotte, North Carolina. "Meeting [Head] Coach [Jim] McElwain and [offensive line] coach Mike Summers and seeing what they had to offer for the academics [stood out]. I didn't know that they were ranked so high with high percentages at graduating people, and [students successful at getting] a job after and how much money you can accumaulate with a degree from Florida. Thats some cool stuff that I saw on the visit."
Douglas has big dreams of majoring in broadcasting, which is something that Florida offers. However, on this trip he was also educated by the staff on why they want him on board.
"He [McElwain] just said that he loved me as a player," said Douglas. "He said that we grabbed another one from Charlotte. He was talking about D.J. [Humphries], and he went to my school. He [McElwain] said you saw the success he had, and if you can put the work into it and put your all into it, you can be just like him and go into the first round."
Seeing a former Mallard Creek High player find success at the Swamp certainly puts Florida in a good position with Douglas.
"Seeing someone that went to your school out of Charlotte going to Florida and being on the big stage and going in the first round, that has an effect on you."
To Douglas, Humphries isn't just this elusive figure he looks up to. The three-star tackle has a solid relationship with the former Gator.
"When I was younger I used to come to games [at Mallard Creek], and I used to talk to players after," he said. "I talked to him a little bit. I talked to him fluidly on twitter, sometimes on the phone and when he comes back to the school I talk to him."
Although their conversations have rarely been about Florida, Douglas jokes that Humphries will definitely be "in his ear" now about the Swamp. As far as where Florida stands right now before the Humphries push? Well the Gators were already high on Douglas' list when they offered in January, and now they cemented their spot as a true contender to land the North Carolina native.
"They are really high. The amount of love that I got here, the playing style, the culture around here, the weather is real good. It's going to start getting hot, I know that, but they are high on my list right next to South Carolina, NC State, Clemson and Carolina... thats my top five right now."
Douglas claims no leaders or favorites out of those five schools, and although most of those programs are closer to Charlotte, he says distance won't play a big role in his decision.
"It's not that bad of a drive [to Gainesville]," he said. "If they [my family] wanted to catch a plane it will be like two hours, it wouldn't be that bad. It's not really that far from home. It's along the east coast and it's accessible. It's not really a disadvantage."
With a top five set, don't expect Douglas to stretch out his recruitment either.
"I am going to visit NC State next week and thats my last one," he said. "I'd say a month or two is what I am going to base my decision on. I want to decide before my senior so my team can win a fourth straight state championship."
Douglas plans to announce his decision "shortly before spring practice starts in April."
So what is he looking for in a school?
"Education," he said,"thats what I base my decision on since thats what I work so hard at school. I know none of these offers would come if I didn't have a great education. I know football is not going to last forever, so I'm going to see who gives me the best opprotunity to not only play football but give me an education."