Score two more for Jim McElwain.
Yesterday, the Gators received verbal commitments from DB Spencer Perry (Auburn, AL/IMG Academy) and WR Isaiah Johnson (Palm Beach, FL/Dwyer). The pair are taking a visit to Gainesville this weekend, and neither wasted any time in giving Jim McElwain their verbal commitments. Florida’s 2016 recruiting class now consists of seven total players.
More importantly, McElwain finally stuck it to his Gator predecessor, and is beginning to fix bridges that he burned.
Perry’s offer list includes Auburn, Michigan and Mississippi State, along with twenty or so other FBS programs. He’s not one of the most nationally known recruits, but he’s an up and comer, picking up offers left and right- most notably from Auburn, and former Gator coach Will Muschamp, who’s been rather unpleasant to deal with on the recruiting trail. In fact, he was so impressed by Muschamp that he called him a genius. In general, Muschamp’s been nothing but trouble for Florida since the 2013 Sugar Bowl, and so it’s nice to finally pay him back by stealing a rising kid from his own backyard that had really liked him.
Johnson, on the other hand, was a former Miami Hurricane commit who is known for making guys miss after the catch and turning flares and hitches into long touchdowns. He was also offered by Miami, Louisville and Illinois- not bad- but his offer list is not what makes this pickup so big. He’s from Dwyer High School in Palm Beach- the same high school Jacoby Brissett once starred at, and thus, the same school Muschamp turned off by destroying Brissett’s career at UF.
McElwain still isn’t landing the premier players in the 2016 class, but for now, that’s OK. He doesn’t have to. This early in the game, it’s all about cleaning up the mess Muschamp started, and he’s doing that about as well as one could ask him to. Reeling in the big fish- the four and five stars- is going to be what this class ultimately needs, but it can wait until the summer. Again, though, it’s great to see that McElwain is able to overcome previous Muschamp failures and sway kids’ minds- maybe just as important as landing a five star.
That last bit isn’t to take away from either kid’s talent. Again, it’s still really early in the recruiting season, so their lack of offers and national attention at a point in the game where only a few dozen or so recruits are getting any isn’t something to be so concerned with. Both kids can play, as their hudl highlights show (here are Johnson’s, and here are Perry’s). And there’s still a whole year for them to improve and grow before we can definitively talk about what Florida is actually getting in them.