Justin Fields (© Chad Simmons / Scout)

Gators eyeing Peach State 4-star QB Justin Fields

In the perfect world of recruiting, the Florida Gators would have their class of 2018 quarterback committed and recruiting for them this cycle.  This isn’t the perfect world and Florida is still on the lookout for a signal caller. The Gators have targeted one of the nation’s best in Peach State standout Justin Fields, but Fields is currently committed to Penn State.

A week ago, Florida extended an offer to Justin Fields. While the offer was coming, it was conveniently timed after his big time showing at The Opening Orlando competition where Fields earned MVP and received an invite to the Elite 11 and to The Opening that will take place during the summer.

The four-star prospect was big time travelling down from Georgia to compete with the Florida talent and doing big things.

“It felt great just going out there and being able to compete with some of the nation's top QB's,” he said. “The amount of work I put in really paid off by winning MVP and getting an invite. I have to thank God for giving me the ability to play.”

In search of a quarterback that can attack with his legs as well as his arm, Fields fits that mold. He’s a dual threat guy, but has a very strong pocket presence about him that really catches the attention of the Florida staff as a standout passer. Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has been on him a while and during the January recruiting period he and assistant Greg Nord stopped by his Kennesaw, Georgia school and found out more about the young man from his coaches. They really liked what they saw and heard.

“Coach Nuss and Nord came to my school,” Fields said earlier this week. “I think they like the way I play the game over all. He said I can make all the throws and my athleticism to extend plays is a good thing. Coach Nuss mentioned he liked my high GPA too.

With a 3.958 GPA, the heady quarterback has a chance to enroll early, and right now that destination is Penn State. He committed to the Nittany Lions in December and knows there is a lot to like about the program.

“Academic history, good business program, it's a big time football school,” he started in on Penn State. “107,000 seat stadium. They have good alumni support when you graduate. I like Coach JoMo's (OC Joe Moorhead) offense. Coach Franklin is so down to earth that you feel like it'll be your home away from home even though it's so far away. And my mom likes PSU a lot because she has family in Pennsylvania.”

The Gators will have their work cut out for them trying to recruit Fields. At the same time, proximity is something in their favor and the young man grew up a fan of the orange and blue, especially one of the best to ever play the game in Gainesville.

“I've always been a Florida fan mainly because of Tim Tebow,” Fields said. “He has great character and leadership traits.”

http://www.scout.com/player/209645-justin-fields?s=168

He’s a guy that seemingly has the same set of traits on and off the field. However, the Florida staff sees him as even more of a pocket passer. And there is a draw to the Florida offense in that the Gators might be a better carryover for the professional ranks because they will run the offense with the quarterback going under center some. That is something to think about.

UF goes under center about 30% of the time,” he said. “PSU is all shot gun.”

“(Florida doesn’t) necessarily want me to run the ball a lot,” he said. “They believe the quarterback is the most important part of a football team. But, my athleticism will allow me to extend plays in the offense. They said 30% of their offense is from under center. That will help in any NFL system.”

Getting Fields to visit is going to be key in his recruitment. He says that there won’t be a lot of time to make the trek any time soon

“I play baseball, so I don't have any visit plans,” he said. “My spring and summer are pretty hectic.

And as far as an official visit, there is nothing on the docket there either.

“I haven't thought that far ahead,” Fields said. “I don't know what our football schedule is yet. I just know my spring is really busy.”

The Gators will continue to recruit him and likely go see him this spring when the evaluation period comes around. He will certainly be a top target.

 


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