Richard Gouraige is becoming a familiar face around Gainesville. On Friday night the Scout 150 offensive tackle made his second trip to The Swamp this spring.
“I love it," said the Cambridge-Christian School lineman after seeing Florida in action in the Orange and Blue Debut spring game. "[UF offensive line] Coach [Brad] Davis and all the guys and [Gators head] Coach Mac [Jim McElwain], he’s just keeping it real with me, so I just appreciate that a lot.”
Davis, who was hired on from North Texas to become Florida's offensive line coach days following National Signing Day, impressed the four-star tackle during their initial meeting last month. During this visit, Gouraige was able to see exactly how the team has progressed under the new assistant.
“Coach Davis just brings that new style, just that new swag and he just keeps it real with you," said the Tampa, Fla. native. "He’s gonna tell you if he really wants you or not. He’s just investing all his time in me and just saying that I can come in and make an impact on the team.”
According to Gouraige, ever since Davis' arrival to Gainesville, Florida has stepped up and has been recruiting him harder than before. It also helps that he has established a connection with the head coach as well.
“I just love Coach Mac," he said. "He always keeps it real with me and he’s talking to my mom and saying that I can be a beast here and just stuff like that.”
Scout's 11th-ranked offensive tackle and 140th-ranked player overall for the class of 2018 visited Florida just over two weeks ago, but he felt his connection to the school warranted a second look this spring.
“I just felt that chemistry with all the players, because I’ve been talking with all the players, like Martez Ivey and stuff like that, Zach Carter himself and all them boys," he explained. "They say it’s a family over here, so I wanted to come experience it myself one more time.”
These two visits have certainly made an impact.
“It helped a lot, because they can really sit down one on one with me and have a conversation and tell me they really need me, look me right in my eyes and say that.”
In March, the 6-foot-5, 270-pounder says his top three consists of: Florida, North Carolina and Clemson (in no order). Gouraige is not ready to pull the trigger on any of these schools, but when is is ready to make his decision he will lean on one woman to help him, his mother. His mom often accompanies Gouraige on visits and UF has certainly left a good impression.
“She likes it so far. That’s a good thing, because I can’t do nothing without her. As long as she’s happy, I’m happy," he said. “She thinks that Florida can be the right piece for me and it’s close to home and she can see me every weekend."
Gouraige does admit that one school is distancing itself.
“I can say Florida, for sure. We’ll just have to see, but hopefully I release my top schools in the summer," he said. "UF is standing out because Coach Davis himself. We’ve been having a great conversation about every other week and we just talk more than football. We talk about how my family’s doing, how his family’s doing, my grades and stuff like that, talking about how I can get better as a man off the field. That’s it really.”
Gouraige has no set timeline for his decision. It could happen at any point.
“I mean, it doesn’t really matter. If it’s the right fit for me, it’s the right fit for me.”