Looks like Jim McElwain is planting a Gator flag in Jacksonville.
Florida has landed a commitment from Class of 2016 DE Ja’Quan Bailey (Jacksonville/Raines HS). He also had offers from Miami, UNC, Cincinnati, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Bailey is the second commitment Florida has picked up from the Jacksonville area, joining his high school teammate Rick Wells, who committed back in January.
Bailey (6’3, 235 lbs.) came to Gainesville today to participate in the Gators’ junior day without an offer from Florida. But he dominated and immediately got one, and gave the Gators his verbal commitment without thinking twice about it (he also grew up a Gator fan).
This past season, Bailey registered 60 tackles, including five sacks, in the nine games he played for Rained. He’s rated as a consensus three star recruit, and doesn’t have a particularly high ranking on any recruiting site. He does, however, have a decent highlight tape:
If nothing else, it shows that McElwain is making Jacksonville a high priority, which is pretty much what he has to do with the success FSU has had in recent years. South Florida is important too, but Jacksonville is an underrated source of talent. And for McElwain to be establishing trust among schools in that city is key.