Last week, the Gators hosted their annual Friday Night Light recruiting camp. It’s an excellent opportunity for kids to improve their stock, compete against other talented recruits and make friends- presumably the kind they can one day play with on the same team. All in all, it’s said to be an incredible experience.
So I got Gators QB commit Jake Allen to rehash that experience, and take you all through it from start to finish from his perspective.
Q: How did the night begin? What was the first thing you did?
A: I actually went with a big group that included Sam Bruce, Binjimen Victor, and Kai Leon-Herbert. The first thing we did was talk to the media outside the complex for a few minutes. Then as soon as we walked in, we were greeted by coach McElwain, and spoke with him.
Q: What was your conversation with Coach McElwain like? What did you guys talk about?
A: It wasn’t really a long conversation. We just talked for a little bit. Mac just thanked me for all the recruiting I’m doing for the Gators. Then he gave me a hug for my commitment. After I was finished talking with Mac, I went upstairs and spoke with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier in his office. I hadn’t seen him since I’d committed, so he gave me the official welcome to the Florida Gator family.
Q: So after you were done talking to the coaches, what did you do next?
A: We gave some of the guys who haven’t seen UF a campus and facility tour. Then we just hung out before the camp got started. I spoke with Donovon Peoples-Jones for a bit, trying my hardest to convince him to be a Gator with me. I think there’s a good chance we get him, too. And then the camp started.
Q: So then it starts. Take us through the camp through your perspective.
A: The first thing we did after McElwain welcomed us was an agility circuit. Then we went to positional drills, then passing routes, and then 1 on 1 drills, wide receivers vs. defensive backs. I connected on a few nice passes to Jerry Juedy, an absolute stud. It was awesome throwing to him, and to all the receivers, really. I feel like I had a really good night. Throwing at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was a sort of combination of “wow, this place is huge” and “this feels like home.” Bottom line though, I felt real comfortable throwing in the Swamp. Coach Nuss was watching me the whole time, coaching me up. He’d say I needed to get a little deeper in my drop, and then after I hit a nice throw he’d let me know that was a nice throw. I already know that I love being coached by him. Meanwhile, I was walking around the camp during breaks, recruiting as hard as I could every chance I got. Specifically, I was after Nate Craig-Myers, Jeudy and Cavin Ridley, just telling them how much I want them to be Gators. I can’t tell you more than that, though, that’s something between me and them. But I got good feelings from them. And the whole time, Coach McElwain was walking around to different groups, clapping and giving pointers to all the kids. You know, like a head coach should. Right after the camp, I went and ate with the group I came with- Victor, Bruce, etc. Then I went back to the hotel.
Q: So you spent the night in Gainesville. Anything happen on Saturday?
A: Not a ton for me, although one of my offensive lineman at St. Thomas Aquinas was camping that Saturday. My dad and I had a really deep, really long talk with coach Nuss. It probably lasted an hour or so. We spent a lot of time talking about our expectations for our upcoming seasons. For him, it’s his first year as Florida’s offensive coordinator, and for me, it’s my junior year at St. Thomas Aquinas. Then we went down to the swamp to watch my buddy practice, and then we went home.
Q: Other than the four announced commitments this past weekend, do you think McElwain won himself any additional commits?
A: I honestly think we get Sam Bruce, Binjimen Victor, Jerry Jeudy and Donovan Peoples-Jones, and I think we have a good chance of getting Nate Craig-Myers. I got a really good vibe when I was talking to him, and he seemed to be really enjoying himself. But it’s a long recruiting process. And I’m betting these guys drag it out as long as possible before they announce either way.
Q: Sounds great, man. Thanks so much for talking to me about this. Go Gators!