Jim McElwain has been putting together a strong 2016 recruiting class for Florida football so far, as he has assembled a class that is in the top ten nationally in many rankings. He attempted to bolster his 2016 class last Saturday against Florida State by hosting 17 recruits on official visits. While the Gators were dismantled by their instate rivals, they still seemed to make a good impression on many of their recruiting targets.
The Gators gained a very important recruitment when four-star QB Feleipe Franks committed to the Gators after making three straight unofficial visits to the Swamp. Previously committed to LSU, he withdrew his commitment after Les Miles’ future with the school came into question. According to 247Sports, he is the fifth best quarterback prospect in the nation. At 6’5, 220 lbs, he brings size and depth to a position that is very questionable heading into next year. With Will Grier suspended and Treon Harris’ play being abysmal, expect Franks to compete for starting time early and possibly even retain the starting role when Grier’s suspension is up.
Jacob Eason is another elite quarterback who is showing interest in the Gators as of late. Eason is the number two quarterback prospect in the country and would be a great fit in McElwain’s pro-style offense. After Mark Richt was let go by UGA, Eason scheduled an official visit to Florida and there are rumors that he plans on switching his commitment. While these rumors may be unfounded, it would be interesting should Eason commit to Florida as it is doubtful that Florida would retain commitments from both quarterbacks. Eason will likely make his decision by next week.
On the other side of the ball, five-star outside linebacker Lyndell Wilson narrowed his options down to a top five that included Florida, Georgia, Alabama, LSU, and USC. This would be a huge get for an already loaded Florida defense. A commitment from Lyndell Wilson could also help offset the de-commitment of cornerback Jayvaughn Meyers. While losing Meyers is not the most terrible loss as there are still five defensive backs committed to Florida, it would still be helpful to replace him with a defensive player.
Finally, an important player that was in the Swamp for Saturday’s tilt was the number one ranked kicker Eddy Pinero. While Pinero is currently committed to Alabama, he seemed to enjoy his time in Gainesville, and could be a possible flip further along in the process. Pinero would be a huge get for a Florida team that had monumental struggles in the kicking game all year.
McElwain has had a great year with leftover players from the Muschamp era and only a handful of his own recruits. The Gators should make significant strides next year after McElwain adds a whole class of his own recruits that fit his system. This Florida recruiting class only looks like it can keep getting better when the most coveted and highest ranked players begin to make their decisions closer to signing day.