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With 2017 National Signing Day now in the books, Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain has turned his attention to filling the two vacant openings on his coaching staff.
The first one of those two hires came on Friday as Florida brought in West Virginia running backs Ja’Juan Seider, presumably to the same position. UF did not announce which position Seider will take on the coaching staff.
“We are excited to have Ja’Juan in the Gator family. A lot is talked about his ability to recruit, but he is more than that — he is a great coach as well,” said McElwain in a statement released by the school. “Recruiting is about relationships and he does a great job of connecting and relating to players not only while is recruiting them, but while they are play for him and well after their playing days are over.”
Seider, a former WVU player who transferred to Florida A&M, has coached with the Mountaineers since 2013 and is known to be a tremendous recruiter dating back to his time at Marshall (2010-12). He’s also a native of Belle Glade, Florida, and joining the Gators will allow him to return to his home state. Seider focused on recruiting South Florida at both programs and saw success, due in large part to his ties to the area. After graduating but prior to beginning his college coaching career, he served as an assistant at Glades Central High School (2001-02), Palm Beach Lakes High School (2003-05) and Lake Worth High School (2006-08).
He made $340,000 last year at West Virginia.
“I’ve always had an affinity for this university and am honored to have the opportunity to join the Florida Gators family. I look forward to working with Coach Mac and his staff. I can’t wait to meet the players, spend time with them and help them achieve their goals,” said Seider.
— Jim McElwain (@CoachMcElwain) February 3, 2017
In hiring Seider, McElwain will likely need to adjust his coaching staff by moving current running backs coach Tim Skipper to defense, probably as linebackers coach. Skipper is a former linebacker who has experience coaching all over the field, including his former position. Such a shift was first proposed by OnlyGators.com after then-defensive coordinator Geoff Collins left to take over the Temple program.
With Randy Shannon promoted to defensive coordinator, Skipper would take over his new boss’ positional responsibilities. Defensive line coach Chris Rumph or defensive backs coach Torrian Gray could be given additional responsibility on that side of the ball as Florida will not have a separate “co-coordinator” like it did the last two seasons.
That would also leave offensive line coach as the only remaining staff position open barring further attrition. FootballScoop.com reports that hire is “imminent.”
“The one thing we wanted to do is make sure we get the absolute right fit,” McElwain said on Wednesday of filling his vacancies. “The plan was there. We had the plan. That will happen here shortly.”