The Florida Gators held the 11th spot in the first release of the College Football Playoff Rankings. Oh, how times have changed. Following a lopsided 31-10 road loss to Arkansas, the Gators now find themselves out of the rankings entirely. Although the Gators still hold the No. 22 AP Poll position, the recent drop from national relevancy could have some adverse effects on recruiting.
Running for Recruits?
This weekend, Florida is hosting several recruits in the season’s final home game against South Carolina, including four official visits. With 15 commits, the Gators hold 247Sports’ 17th-ranked 2017 recruiting class, but Florida will need to finish strong in order to up their appeal.
According to ESPN recruiting analyst Derek Tyson, recruits want to win, and having a poor regular season performance can cripple a potential recruiting class. With that being said, Tyson elaborated that coaches can spin shortcomings by convincing recruits to come in immediately and fill roles that are lacking.
For second-year Gator football head coach Jim McElwain, his relatively short stint with the team could play to his advantage. Tyson says commits respond well to newer coaches, and recruits may remain faithful unless losing seasons stack up.
Among others this weekend, two 5-star prospects will be in The Swamp: offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood and wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones. Leatherwood is an Alabama commit, but that could change as he nears his December 16th decision date. Meanwhile, Peoples-Jones could serve as a game-changing offensive weapon, ranking as the country’s No. 1 receiver. Peoples-Jones hasn’t made a commitment yet, but it’s looking like Florida will have to edge out Michigan if they expect to sign him.
Florida has zero 5-star commitments so far.
Looking forward, Tyson says Florida is making strides with their recruiting techniques. The UAA Board just recently received a $100 million facilities initiative, which could pay dividends for recruits seeking the best in student-athlete amenities.