Eric Stokes (© Chad Simmons / Scout)

Eric Stokes has wonderful time at his Florida official visit, "it would mean a lot playing for DBU"

Eric Stokes had a wonderful official visit to Florida. The Georgia athlete, who the Gators are recruiting as a defensive back, made the trip to Gainesville over the weekend. Stokes discusses his visit and why this trip made Florida stand out.

Eric Stokes's official visit to Florida lived up to expectations. 

"I had a wonderful time in Gainesville," said the athlete from Georgia.  "I met a lot of good recruits that are coming in and also that are coming in and making their decision too - so it was a great time to bond with everybody."

Although Georgia's No. 7 athlete was familiar with the Gators program, this visit allowed him to receive some personal attention and some time with the players. 

"I learned a lot over the last two days about the program; where they are trying to go with it; and how much it means to them about everyone who they are bringing in," he said. "We hung out at the Swamp.  They showed us around the campus and we went to see academics part. Mainly we hung out at the Swamp and ate. Man you eat a lot down here. Then just hung out at the Swamp and hung out with different type of players - the players that they have, players that they trying to bring in and trying to make it into a family." 

One of the players Stokes connected with was his host Jeawon Taylor. The freshman safety had some words of wisdom for the high school senior and 2017 prospect. 

"He said always be prepared because he wasn't expected to be thrown out there. Somebody can always get hurt including him," said Taylor. "He dislocated his shoulder during the FSU game, so he said you always have to be prepared to play. He said if you do come, just know you are going to be playing."

Playing time and the need for defensive backs is a message Stokes and his family heard many times during his visit. Stokes, along with his father, sister and cousin, were able to sit down and talk to Florida head coach Jim McElwain about UF's plan for him. 

"We talked in the end. He was basically talking about how they are in need of DBs," said Stokes.  "He asked, 'have you every been to Disney World,' and we said yeah. He mentioned the line you need to stand in [for the rides] and then he told me,  'you get to cut the line.'  Then my sister said, 'it's like a fast pass', and he said, 'yes, because you cut everybody else, because we really need DBs here.'"

According to Stokes, Florida's reputation as 'DBU' and UF assistant Torrian Gray's experience coaching and sending defensive backs to the league are why the program is among the schools standing out.

Gray is a "real cool guy. He keeps it real straight up with you. He doesn't hide anything from you. He tells you how it is, and you want a coach just like that. Because if you are doing something wrong. he is going to correct you, and he is going to make you better person," he said. "Gray shows his experience.  He told me who he has coached, and who he has brought into the league. It would mean a lot playing for DBU." 

According to the Eastside athlete, the Gators have certainly moved the meter. 

"It stands up there at the top with some others. This official really made it stand out. It means a lot being out here."

Now Stokes is focused on his upcoming official visits: Georgia (Jan. 20) and Ole Miss (Jan. 27) 

At UGA, "I really want to see if they can make a connection like Florida did, and if they a have a bond like a family there too."

When he finally makes his announcement on National Signing Day, there are a few things Stokes is considering when making his decision. 

"Playing time of course, academics of course, and just having a family," he said.  "I want to see if I can get a long with the players, because the coaches are going to change. I want to know if I can get a long with my teammates because my teammates are never going to change." 


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