Florida will lose seniors Jarrad Davis and Daniel McMillian along with redshirt junior Alex Anzalone in all likelihood after this season. A roster that was already thin will take on newcomers in the 2017 class that will see the field right away.
That is one reason that Florida assistant Tim Skipper flew to California on Monday to see 4-star linebacker prospect Rahyme Johnson. The other reason, he’s pretty darn good. You see Johnson came to camp in July and attended Florida’s Friday Night Lights. The staff was well aware of his talent then and offered him soon after.
Skipper has been the point man on Johnson’s recruitment and is the assistant that travels out west. He saw Johnson and 4-star Gator cornerback commitment Elijah Blades. Not a man of too many words. Johnson said he heard what he wanted from Skipper on the visit.
“It went real well,” he said about the time he got to spend with the Florida assistant. “They like me as a linebacker. They like my ability to play in space and do multiple things.”
“Right now (most of the talk) is just about getting me out there with my mom. A big part of this process is us seeing it and getting a feel for the place.”
One big thing for Skipper to get accomplished was to make sure that Johnson was going to make it back to Florida before he makes a decision on a school. Twice this fall Johnson was scheduled to show up in Gainesville for a game. The first time was cancelled because of Hurricane Matthew; the second was cancelled because of a playoff game that was moved to a Saturday due to a holiday.
Skipper got his wish and Johnson and his mom are scheduled to be in Gainesville in January, “we're looking at the 13th,” he said.
Despite the issues getting to Gainesville on separate occasions, when asked if distance was an issue, he responded, “not at all.”
The interest in Florida is definitely there as he calls the school, “one of my top schools” and that he and the Gator staff “speak regularly”.
One of the big things that has drawn him to the program in Gainesville is the conference they play in.
“Playing in the SEC is definitely something I've envisioned,” he proclaimed. “They say it's the greatest stage in college football! I love the Gators defense, they're physical and get after it and I think I fit in real well there.”
The Gators are doing what they can for a prime target that fits exactly what they are looking for in a linebacker. He’s long, quick, and athletic with a good head on his shoulders. They will get him on campus one more time and await his decision afterward which he said “is coming sometime in January”.