The class of 2015 may be McElwain scurrying around trying to fix the mess that Will Muschamp created, but the 2016 class is already off to a great start.
Rick Wells, a standout junior wide receiver from Jacksonville, has committed to Florida. (Specifically, Wells “committed to Jim McElwain”, per GatorCountry.) Wells becomes the Gators’ third commit of the Class of 2016, joining DB Tre Jackson and ATH Tyler Byrd.
Wells was amazing at the Gators’ annual Friday Night Lights event back in July, and he’s been on the Gators’ radar ever since. Wells is a naturally explosive talent, standing at 6’3, and runs a 4.55 40 yard dash. He does a great job of high pointing the football and coming down with it in traffic, and simply has the nose for the football that you just cannot teach. He’s also extremely difficult to bring down in the open field, and could potentially be of use as a kick/punt returner. (See his highlights here.)
This is the type of player that the Gators have so sorely lacked since Percy Harvin took his talents to the NFL. After he left, Urban Meyer and Will Muschamp recruited plenty of receivers who had similar natural ability- Quinton Dunbar, Solomon Patton, Andre Debose, Demarcus Robinson, Latroy Pittman, etc.- but none of them ever met their potentials, thanks to the WR coach position being in flux throughout Muschamp’s tenure (in fairness, not having a reliable QB didn’t help the situation either).
Of the receivers listed, only Robinson has shown some real promise for the future, and unless somebody else steps up, it’s going to be McElwain’s job to sign premiere talent at WR- and then develop it. Bringing in Rick Wells- even though he won’t be here for another year- is a good start.
Jim McElwain has secured his second commitment of the night.
The catch this time is Class of 2015 DT Jabari Zuniga, who was formerly committed to NC State but had been looking around at other schools. Arkansas gave chase, and got him to visit this weekend, but thanks to the relentless efforts of Gators’ DC Geoff Collins, Zuniga made the switch to Florida.
Zuniga is a solid prospect. He doesn’t strike me as having the immediate impact that Dominique Easley had, but he has more than adequate skills as an interior lineman, including a quick first step and fast reacting, strong hands. I don’t think he’ll play right away unless there are a lot of injuries, but I could definitely see him contributing in the future.
If nothing else, Zuniga is a great plan B. Florida is the best program to offer him a scholarship, which always makes me a little wary, but there’s nothing wrong with adding depth to any position.