Florida just picked up their second verbal pledge of the day.
Mere hours after LB Vosean Joseph committed to Florida, fellow Miami defensive prospect Eric Mitchell joined him. His commitment came just a couple of days after Florida offered.
Mitchell’s physical attributes don’t jump off the table, though. He runs a 5.35 40 yard dash and stands 6’2, 235. That may be why the consensus star rating given to Mitchell is three stars, and it also may be at least partly why Florida Atlantic is the only school other than Florida to have extended a formal offer.
I honestly don’t know if Mitchell will be able to play for the Gators- he may, and I won’t be shocked because of the need Florida will have on the DL after this season if he does- and I honestly don’t care right this second, because his commitment gave Florida a whole other type of victory.
Florida has a ton of work to do repairing its image in certain schools in South Florida, another way McElwain is being tasked with cleaning up a mess that Will Muschamp started. Muschamp totally shattered Gator ties with Palm Beach schools with his odious handling of Jacoby Brissett, and word soon spread throughout South Florida that Muschamp routinely lied to recruits and made horrible decisions regarding position battles. Whether those two things are accurate or not- and Muschamp running off Brissett, and subsequently Tyler Murphy, in favor of Jeff Driskel suggests that at least the latter part of that is true- once the word gets out, the image is set, and repairing it is near impossible. (Not to mention that going 4-8 in 2013 gave credibility of its own to the developing notion that Muschamp doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.)
But McElwain and his staff are making a valiant effort to reverse that, first by finishing the 2015 recruiting class off strong with South Florida guys like Rayshad Jackson and Jordan Scarlett, and now by getting a jump in the 2016 class with two guys from Miami in the same day. McElwain is sending the message to high school coaches that he cares about South Florida, he will take care of their kids- even if nobody better than Florida Atlantic is offering to do so. This is the kind of thing that builds trust, and even though Randy Shannon definitely had a hand in it, he got the green light from McElwain to actively pursue him, and the coaches know that.
And hopefully, the rebuilding of trust with South Florida high school coaches will lead to Florida landing the real blue chippers.