After missing out on their first two targets on National Signing Day, the Florida Gators received some good news with back-to-back commitments, the first of which coming from three-star wide receiver Raphael Andrades (Tallahassee, FL).
With offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Stanford and Vanderbilt on the table, Andrades was not sure what his future would hold. In fact, he wanted to play for Florida so bad that he was considering walking on to the team.
Things became clearer when Gators head coach Will Muschamp called him on Tuesday evening and extended an official offer for him to join the program. His position coach at Lincoln High School (and former Florida WR) Jacquez Green explained to OGGOA on Wednesday how the situation unfolded.
“It was a maybe-type thing for a while, but he wanted to go to Florida,” Green said. “He even told me he would walk on at Florida because he knew he had something to bring to the school anyway. He turned down a lot of other offers out there. He just waited it out and was willing to go into signing day to see what would happen with [Nelson] Agholor.
“He was thinking about walking on and he was dead serious. He was like, ‘I want to play for Florida.’”
At 6’0” and 190 lbs., Andrades has a frame large enough to add additional size and strength. With a 40-yard-dash speed somewhere in the 4.5-4.7-second range, he can also improve his speed. Green believes those improvements will be easy for him to make because he already has the most important trait of a wide receiver.
“The way he catches the ball is something that can’t be taught. A lot of receivers just can’t catch. That’s one of his biggest strengths – just catching the football,” he explained. “He was a solid route runner in high school. He can get a little faster but he will get faster because now he only has to worry about football. I know he will get faster.
“His strength is overall size and the way he catches the football, and he understands the game. He’s a real smart guy. He understands route concepts. He understands why one receiver has to clear out in order to get another receiver open. Things like that are things guys in the pros understand, and he’s just in high school right now.”
Green said Andrades’s hand-eye coordination “is so high because of his baseball background;” he plays outfielder and was a highly-recruited baseball prospect.
Though he is a former player with the Gators, Green added that he did not have any influence on his Andrades’s decision-making process. In fact, he suggested he attend another institution before learning of Florida’s official offer on Tuesday.
“Ralph is a smart guy. He knows about football. He knows about teams and coaches. He’s very smart,” he said. “I never really had an influence on him. I let guys go wherever they want to. Actually during the recruiting process, I told him that I thought Arkansas was a good school for him. I don’t try to push them one way or another, I just try to help them make the best decision.”
The No. 99-ranked pass catcher by Rivals.com, Andrades is also considered a three-star recruit by ESPNU. He is Florida’s second wide receiver commitment of the 2012 cycle, joining four-star LaTroy Pittman (Citra, FL), and the Gators’ 22nd overall recruit.