Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna Prep three-star wide receiver Elijah Canion was one of six prospects at this weekend’s Great Gator Grill Out to be on his official visit.
Now with the new Early Signing Day being inserted into the rule book two cycles ago, spring and early summer official visits are no longer out of the norm and are actually preferred by many – especially if it can be taken during a big recruiting event.
That is the case with Canion, who told Inside the Gators that the way Florida set up the weekend made it worth it because without the pressures and responsibilities of a game week, there was more one-on-one time.
“I got extra time to hang out with a lot of the players and the coaches,” said Canion. “It was a really good time.”
While most of the GGGO’s visitors left following the event, the 6-foot-3, 190- pounder stayed through the night where he got to spend much more time with a group of current Gators led by his player host, quarterback Emory Jones.
“He was really cool,” the wide out said of Florida’s freshman signal caller. “I was with a lot of them though. [Cornerback] Trey [Dean] brought his nice car so I hung out with him. [Wide Receiver] Josh [Hammond] was there too. He’s from where I’m from so it was really good to see him.”
It would be silly to think all recruits do on their official visits is talk about the state of Florida Football program with current players. However, the game can definitely serve as some filler conversation for guys who fail to find common ground. Canion said that football was one of the last things he talked about with the Gators, which made the experience the highlight of his visit.
“It was really just hanging out with the boys. That was cool.”
Despite all the fun Canion was having on his official, at the end of the day Florida coaches were there to talk business with the three-star. More than 30 visitors took the trip to Gainesville, but four different coaches spent quality time with Canion and each one preached the same message.
“Coach [Keiwan] Ratliff, Coach [Billy] Gonzales, Coach [Christian] Robinson, and Coach [Dan] Mullen were the ones I talked to the most. If you’re not a Gator, you’re Gator bait. That’s pretty much it.”
All in all, Canion rated his visit with the Florida Gators extremely highly.
“I would have to say a 10,” he admitted. “There wasn’t a moment I wasn’t enjoying it. I was enjoying every second. I love it there and I can’t wait to get back.”
But, before you all run out and put in your Crystal Ball for Canion to the Orange and Blue, the 2020 prospect still has a couple visits to take before he makes a final decision.
“I’m going up to Auburn June 1st and that will be my second time there. I don’t have anything else scheduled right now but I’m going to see [University of Southern California] and then I have to get back up to UF.”
When asked if those schools made up his top three, Canion gave a definitive yes.
Last season, as a junior, he hauled in 22 catches for 621-yards and nine touchdowns on the way to being named First Team All Broward County.
Canion is the No. 416 rated prospect in the nation on the 247 Composite.