Put another mark in the recruiting win column for Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain, who on Tuesday retained director of player personnel Drew Hughes despite a push from South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, who originally hired him to Florida’s staff in 2013.
Hughes, who previously ran the same department at NC State, has helped lead the Gators’ recruiting efforts for the last five seasons. His classes ranked No. 3 in 2013 and No. 9 in 2014 under Muschamp. He helped McElwain retain four of Florida’s top five commitments in the transition Class of 2015 (No. 21) and has helped the Gators acquire the No. 12 class in 2016 and No. 10 class in 2017.
As director of player personnel, Hughes leads the recruiting effort for Florida. He establishes a directory of top prospects, reviews talent across the nation and manages a staff responsible for everything from maintaining connections with high school coaches, parents and players to scheduling visits and creating graphics.
Though Hughes would not have been impossible to replace, continuity at the position is important, and Hughes has received high praise from co-workers, parents and players — though there are always a few hiccups. There’s a reason Muschamp wanted to add him to the fold with the Gamecocks.
Hughes going to South Carolina had been rumored since National Signing Day, and FootballScoop.com initially reported Tuesday that he had agreed to leave Florida. The outlet then changed its report to note Hughes planned to leave and again adjusted it to note that McElwain was meeting with Hughes in an attempt to sway him to stay. FootballScoop, ESPN‘s Derek Tyson, Gator Country’s Andrew Spivey and others have since reported that Hughes has decided to stay.
FWIW Drew Hughes is one of the best PEOPLE I met during my time in Gainesville .. real good guy https://t.co/VJ9rxBiE06
— Joshua Grady (@joshuagrady_) February 7, 2017
hey Drew i got something for you pic.twitter.com/g3AWxCLg9Z
— Jake McGee (@JakeOvaTheWorld) February 7, 2017