OT Fredrick Johnson commits to Florida

The Florida Gators doubled up on offensive line commitments Saturday as three-star offensive tackle Fredrick Johnson (West Palm Beach, FL) ended his recruitment by making a verbal pledge to the program.

Johnson (6-foot-7, 301 pounds), a former Virginia Tech commit, took an unofficial visit to UF over the weekend and subsequently chose Florida over Miami, though he also had committable offers from Nebraska, Tennessee and VT. LSU and Penn State were among the late-arriving parties interested in his services.

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Richerd Desir-Jones commits to the Gators

A three-star prospect out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in South Florida, Richerd Desir-Jones (Fort Lauderdale, FL) announced his verbal commitment to the Florida Gators on Saturday.

Desir-Jones (6-foot-4, 285 pounds), a FIU commitment with a relatively modest offer sheet, was noticed by Florida, which ensured that the big-bodied lineman knew he had a place in the Gators’ class of 2015 while he was on his official visit on Saturday.

“UF COMMITTED,” Desir-Jones wrote on his Twitter account.

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Three-star DE Jabari Zuniga commits to Florida

Two weeks after visiting the Florida Gators, rising three-star defensive end Jabari Zuniga (Marietta, GA) decided to commit to the program and become the 10th member of its 2015 recruiting class.

A NC State pledge who was also evaluating an offer from Arkansas, Zuniga was recruited by Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, who after taking over the Gators’ defense made the player a primary target.

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2016 WR Rick Wells commits to Florida Gators

The 2015 recruiting cycle may be moving at a snail’s pace for the Florida Gators, but the program added a 2016 prospect on Monday as wide receiver Rick Wells (Jacksonville, FL) announced his intent to sign with the Gators in one year’s time.

Wells (6-foot-2, 187 pounds) was just offered a scholarship Monday afternoon by Florida running backs coach Tim Skipper, according to Gator Country‘s Andrew Spivey, and obviously did not waste time in making his decision.

“Just Committed to University of Florida #ChompChomp” he wrote on Twitter.

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The Silver Lining for Monday, January 26: Florida coaching staff vacancy, Gators recruiting

Updated on Wednesday at 2:50 p.m.

Still missing: wide receivers coach

As was mentioned one week ago in this space, new Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain has been in no rush to fill the last position on his initial coaching staff with Florida still looking for its wide receivers coach 21 days (as of press time) after every other member of the staff was officially announced.

Nevertheless, a source close to the program reaffirmed to OnlyGators.com on Sunday that there is indeed a high level of interest in the position with at least two former Gators players, and one former Florida assistant coach, in the pool of candidates for the job. There are also a couple NFL assistants hoping to get the gig. McElwain has a few front-runners in the aforementioned grouping and will continue interviews this week between recruiting visits and phone calls.

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Gators add commit No. 9 in LB Rayshad Jackson

The second commitment of the Jim McElwain era made his intentions known on Sunday as three-star outside linebacker Rayshad Jackson (Miami, FL) pulled the trigger for the Florida Gators.

Jackson (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) was a target of linebackers coach Randy Shannon and a former lean to Arkansas, where Shannon coached before being hired by Florida.

The ninth member of the Gators’ pedestrian 2015 recruiting class, Jackson is also the ninth three-star prospect on Florida’s list.

His commitment was first reported by ESPN‘s Derek Tyson.

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The Silver Lining for Monday, January 19: Florida wide receiver coach search, Gators recruiting

Missing: Wide Receivers Coach

New Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain was methodical in filling out his initial staff, but a hole nevertheless remains with one assistant spot still yet to be filled as of press time.

Florida has not yet hired what will be its seventh wide receivers coach in as many seasons – seriously, seven in seven seasons – despite every other member on McElwain’s coaching staff not only being in the building but already having gone out on the road recruiting. Currently, the Gators are using director of player personnel Drew Hughes as their ninth recruiter with McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier paying extra-close attention to available wideouts.

So why exactly does Florida still have this position open and when will a hire be made?

Well, let’s just say the Gators are in no rush. A source close to the program told OnlyGators.com over the weekend that one reason why Florida has not filled the role is because a number of the coaches being considered for the position are currently in the NFL. Professional staffs have yet to fully shake out due to head coaching changes throughout the league and there are still head coach positions available.

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Florida Gators coaches confident that recruiting will come alive as dead period ends

With the dead period over, nine Florida Gators staff members hit the recruiting trail on Thursday to salvage the program’s 2015 class. Standing at just eight commitments with no four- or five-star pledges, Florida’s class has plenty of spots to fill – and the coaches have little time to get it done.

National Signing Day is set for Wednesday, Feb. 4, giving the Gators just three weeks to lock up 15-20 players. This is why it was imperative for Florida to bring on head coach Jim McElwain – and for McElwain, in turn, to get his coordinators hired – early in December so the program could get an early start on re-recruiting players.

According to McElwain, that foresight paid off.

“We’ve gotten great buzz, and yet, time will tell. Obviously the guys that we put in place have value to these recruits as they want to perfect their craft at their individual positions moving forward,” he said of his staff. “They’re good dudes, man. They’re a lot of fun to be around. They got energy and they care about kids and they care about being involved in young men’s lives, not just in football.”

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