Florida is on a BYE this week, and the Gators are using this time to check in on a few of their top targets. On Monday morning Florida head coach Jim McElwain and defensive back coach Torrian Gray journeyed to Virginia. Their first stop was to Chesapeake, Va. to see five-star athlete, Devon Hunter. Although both Gray and McElwain talked to Hunter's coach, the Indian River standout appreciated the fact that the coaches chose him to receive the first visit.
McElwain's "first visit to see a player was me. It was big for me for him to come," said Hunter. "It's big for a coach like him to to visit. He feels like I can come in and make an impact early and he is willing to coach me up."
Although Hunter notes a good relationship with the Gators head coach, he admits having a closer bond with Gray.
"Coach Gray speaks highly of me too, and I know him a bit longer, since eighth grade, when he was at Virginia Tech. So we are familiar with each other," Hunter explained. "He wants to coach me up bad and says I can make an impact early. He wants me to come down there and be a Gator. It's good to see two coaches like that."
Hunter has taken several trips to Gainesville in the last few years, and Florida is heavily in the mix to land the highly sought after prospect.
"They are high on my list. I still have a few things to check out with Florida but I have been there three times already. I've been to practice; I've been to games; I am very familiar with them," he said. "I saw everything I needed to see [on those visits]. I basically was seeing how they would end up playing this year, and they are doing great job. The DBs have made a lot of plays, the defense as well. They are winning a lot of football games, there is not much more you can ask for.
"Now it's just about narrowing down the list to see which schools fit best."
In order to narrow down his list further, Hunter is expected to take a few official visits. According to Scout's No. 1 safety, his next stop will be Notre Dame on Oct. 29.
"I want to get to know more about the school," he said. "I have't been there. I don't know much about the school. They have a lot of traditions there. I know they need more guys in the secondary. I haven't spoken to the defensive coordinator yet. A lot of things are changing there."
Apart from Notre Dame and Florida, Hunter says Alabama, Auburn, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Michigan are all in the mix. Hunter has been paying close attention to each school this season, and says he likes the changes he has seen in Blacksburg.
"They [Virginia Tech] are growing big time," he said. "They are coming from losing a lot of games to winning a lot of games. They are playing with a lot of confidence. They have a lot of confidence in [head] coach [Justin] Fuente and what they learned. The Hokies are coming up."
Although the Hokies have struggled to keep the big names in-state the last few years, Hunter says the coaching staff believe he could be the beginning.
"A lot of players around here that committed to other schools because they don't really believe in it, so they are basically telling me that I can be the one to set it up again which is big for me," he said. "I believe in Virginia Tech they are doing a good job. The whole program is changing. They are taking more pride in it."
Apart from success on the field. Hunter keeps a close eye on each school's 2017 class. According to the playmaker, Alabama's class provides an excellent opportunity for him.
"They [the 'Bama coaches] talk to me a lot. They don't have a safety in this class which is crazy," he said. "They have a lot of big time athletes there, and they are short on safeties, and thats my position so thats big time. Thats a big opportunity and it is sitting on the table for me to take it...Alabama is on my high list too."
Hunter, however, is in no rush to end the process and is keeping his eyes open as he works towards his decision.
"I'm just taking it all in. It's all of fun. I know it's stressful too because you have to pick one school and it's a lot of coaches wanting to talk to you, but I just take it all in," he said. "You only get to go through this once, might as well live it up while you got it. Right now just waiting and weighting everything out
"I'm enjoying every second of it."