Photo by Danny Parker

Six Weeks Matters

The Florida football 2017 recruiting class got an added bonus this week when quarterback Jake Allen and offensive lineman T.J. Moore enrolled for Summer-A classes, six weeks ahead of most of their counterparts in the class. According to head coach Jim McElwain, the six weeks can be a pretty big thing.

The two new guys have quickly fit in with the rest of the team because of the communication they have had since committing and signing on to become Gators.

“T.J. is here and obviously our quarterback Jake (Allen) is here, too,” McElwain said at a media gathering before he spoke to the Title Town Gator Club in Gainesville on Tuesday. “Those two guys introduced themselves to the team. Of course, they know most of them and the way things are now. They stay in touch. It was great to see really how they just fit right in at dinner. They were cleared today with all the medical stuff, so they were able to work out actually today at whatever time slot they were in. So, that’s a good thing.”

McElwain was asked if showing up just six weeks ahead of time gives them any kind of advantage.

“No doubt about it,” he said. “Our calendar just the way it is, you’ve got a way to get those guys in until they get their stamped diploma. Shoot, the majority of them are still in school. So, not getting them until late I think hinders a little bit for us. And yet, you know what, we’ve just got to catch them up faster. They get a chance after they graduate to go spend some time with their family or whatever and not just jump right into it either. That’s all part of the progression.”

Moore is a big offensive lineman that has a bit of versatility about him. He could wind up at any of four different spots on the offensive line and time will tell where that will eventually be.

“He’s a guy that when we got on him, we were really excited about this guy,” McElwain said. “I think the versatility, No. 1, to play both inside and outside is really … his feet. The way he moves. Really more than that the way he finishes. It’s one of those things where he definitely plays through the whistle. I am excited about that.

“I really see him being able to fit wherever the line is the shortest. He has that ability to do both (tackle and guard).”

McElwain is pretty high on the way the offensive line progressed through the end of last season and the spring. He believes they have enough versatility up front that the tackle position will be fine.

 “I do believe so,” he said.  And, yet, I have talked about it already, now natural Martez (Ivey) is out there. It’s really good and obviously the way Wanny (Jawaan Taylor) played last year and Fred’s (Fred Johnson) ability to go inside. The guy that I think took huge strides for us was (true freshman) Kadeem (Telfort), and being here in the spring. There’s an example of a guy, without those 15 opportunities… well, he’s now a veteran going into summer. He’s a guy that will be able to help us.”

With quarterback Jake Allen, he just wants the young man to get with the other quarterbacks and have a good feel of what they are looking for when fall camp starts in August.

“I think really No. 1 fitting in and showing his place as a leader,” McElwain said of what he is looking for. “And then doing the best he can do learning from those guys so when we get an opportunity to do the installs and that type of stuff he’s up on it and is familiar with the nomenclature.”

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