Jim McElwain’s response to Florida denying admission to four-star wideout speaks volumes

By Adam Silverstein
January 31, 2017
Jim McElwain’s response to Florida denying admission to four-star wideout speaks volumes

Image Credit: ESPN Images

For all the grief — deserved or not — Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain has received for his on-field achievements and recruiting, there has never been any doubt about one facet of his persona: He cares about the kids he coaches. Apparently that also goes for the ones that he recruits, too.

When Florida denied admission to four-star wide receiver James Robinson (Lakeland, FL) on Monday, it was for more than just his marijuana citation while on a recent visit at Ohio State. But McElwain learning of Robinson’s fate so late in the process — after the prospect had just taken an official visit to see the Gators over the weekend — made receiving that information even tougher, and no doubt it was difficult for him to call Robinson and his family to deliver the news.

They say you can learn the most about a man’s character by the way he responds when faced with adversity. Here’s how McElwain responded to learning Robinson would not be able to enroll at Florida: He called at least 18 teams to find out if they had a spot for the talented but troubled wideout.

According to SEC Country, McElwain took it upon himself to contact 18 coaches as to determine what schools might be able to admit Robinson and would want to take a chance on the prospect. This falls in line with other reports that had McElwain contacting in-state programs and junior colleges to gauge their interest about Robinson. In other words, during a dead period in which coaches are not allowed to contact recruits who do not have National Letters of Intent from the school, McElwain is taking time out of his schedule to act as a go-between for Robinson.

This is a nice gesture, and there’s little doubt that doing what’s best for Robinson is all that’s in McElwain’s interest here. But as a result, it may also have an incredibly positive impact on Gators recruiting beyond 2017.

“From my looks coach McElwain is real. He tried everything in his ability to help a recruit out. That’s some[thing] we recruits should look at,” wrote four-star 2018 WR Jacob Copeland (Pensacola, FL), the nation’s 79th best player next cycle, in the first of two tweets. “Coach McElwain showed me tonight it’s more than football to him. He tried to make a way for that kid. Nothing but respect to him. #GoGators”

Robinson’s inability to join Florida’s 2017 class may be a tough pill to swallow for the program and fans that follow it, but despite the questions surrounding him, it was yet another example of McElwain showing his true character. And you have to respect that.


  1. Scroud says:

    Excellent article, Adam. Especially in this day when everything is about self, it is nice to see that coach McElwain is a decent human being who really does care about his players. I applaud him for this, not everything in life is about winning. Hopefully it means something to this young man as well and this whole incident could be turned into a positive.

  2. cline says:

    Also speaks volumes to the UF administration’s lack of consistency in this regard. SMH at this decision.

    I wonder if they will make a statement as to why this kid is being blocked from enrolling.

  3. JimmyJohns says:

    I heard this, but hadn’t seen it in writing yet. Thanks for doing it. I would love to see this go viral and let all the recruits know what they get with Mac. Sounds like Copeland was definitely impressed.

  4. Jemery says:

    No matter how I question Mac’s ability to run a championship level program. I’ve continually gained respect for him as a man.

  5. Kaput says:

    This class is going to be abysmal, and THAT is going to be McElwain’s undoing. He just can’t recruit at a higher enough level.

    • BS says:

      take it elsewhere, troll. Florida will have a top 15 class and will continue to be a force in the SEC East. Good QB play this year will elevate everyone’s opinion of the Gators except, of course, for the trolls

    • bugman says:

      Kaput are you a semihole fan or what. We are gonna be fine this stuff runs in cycles, we have been to the bottom we are on the way up now. I think Mac does a great job.

  6. SL says:

    Letting 1 recruit go b/c of his “character” does not absolve Coach Mac’s overall awful track record for recruiting thus far.
    I also don’t think he has helped his cause for the continued shots at Administration in regards to “UF’s facilities” nor the way he has handled staffing and caching vacancies. He has to know (I assume) these and many more examples are used against him and the UF program every time another school reaches out to these same kids.

    • Chad says:

      Did he stop recruiting the player because of his actions or was forced to by not allowing him into school. Not sure that is an above reproach action.

      Swamp Donkey keep on keepin on.

  7. Gatorjim57 says:

    All of you idiots need to go get a head coaching job at a FBS school and do a better job. Shut up or show some support. This crap, the complaining, doesn’t help our Gators.

  8. Curt says:

    I hope this young man finds a place in a JC And comes back to the Gators as a terrific WR next year.

  9. gman says:

    im with you gatorman mac has done just fine and i think next year we are gonna surprise people wait to see what we do

  10. A says:

    Lol @ those questioning Macs recruiting. Wya now?

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