FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
- Friday Night Lights Recruiting Notebook
- 20/10 for 2021: Gamble set to take over for Pitts
- ITG Recruiting Intel: Updates on Nolen, Thomas, Wilson and many more
- Spikes returns to campus with a message for Florida's linebackers
- Inside the Gators Commitment Burn Barometer
- Behind the Scenes of Florida Football: Part I, Part II & Part III (Free)
- One-on-One: Steve Spurrier talks Florida football, recruiting & SOS’ Gridiron Grille
- Ranking the June official visitors from least to most likely to sign with Florida
- Impact Analysis: Counting down the 10 Transfers
- The Inside Scoop: A behind the scenes look at Nick Evers' Florida official visit
- Florida Football player observations from the first two camp sessions
- The Inside Scoop: Trainer shares observations on nine Florida defensive linemen
- Where are they Now: Shane Matthews talks Florida Football
This past weekend, perhaps the most important recruiting duo of the Dan Mullen era returned to campus when Flower Mound (Tx.) four-star quarterback commit Nick Evers and Frisco (Tx.) Liberty five-star wide-out target Evan Stewart visited Florida for the first time since their June official visit.
While the two prospect's high schools are roughly 20 miles apart geographically, when in the Sunshine State the two never seem to be more than 20 steps apart.
As close as they are, the pair, who arrived Friday and left Gainesville on Sunday afternoon, had different experiences during their roughly 48-hours in town.
In the case of Evers, with his pledge to Florida bringing an end to his own recruiting process, his visits to UF are you more about building upon an existing foundation.
"It's always good to be back home," said Evers. "Every single time I come back here, I always have a good time. Just building a relationship with these guys is really what I come back here for. Promoting the school and everything.
“This weekend was definitely something that I'll remember. We had a lot of good times, with the water balloon fight, everyone was kind of soaking me. I really just came down here for the relationships.”
A part of his weekend was getting to hang out with the coaches and other prospects in a bit more of a relaxed setting during Saturday's cookout.
Speaking with multiple attendees, the Saturday highlights were the Gators Olympics and a water balloon fight.
When it came to the balloon fight, the smart money was of course on the pin-point accuracy of the heralded quarterback to find his mark.
“I got Coach [Garrick] McGee and Coach Mullen a little bit and then I had to pay for it,” said Evers. “Kelvin [Bolden] dumped a whole bucket of water on me. It was fun.”
While the quarterback was tossing the balloons, Stewart on the other hand was on the receiving end.
"I didn't throw any balloons," said Stewart, while smiling. "Nick hit me in my back, but it already dried up, so we don't have any problems right now.”
Not only did they take different approaches to the water balloon fight, but they are on different timelines when it comes to recruiting.
Evers knows exactly where he will sign, while Stewart is still trying to navigate his way through the process.
That was never more evident than when during a roughly two-minute span he went from indicating that Florida had moved slightly ahead, to going back to calling it a tossup, to once again implying that the Gators had an advantage.
“I’m not going to say they’re the leader by a margin, but it’s not too much different,” Stewart said of the Gators before adding that he was still considering five programs to some degree.
“Alabama, Florida, Texas, and then LSU and [Texas] A&M.”
When asked if he would put those programs into tiers, he responded, “There's not really anybody that's standing out or anything. I'm really trying to find out what is the difference between all of them really. They're really on a level playing field right now.”
Then he was presented with the scenario that if today were signing day and he was forced to make a decision, which one of them would it be?
His response was, “I would put them in a hat and draw one I guess.”
Stewart however did admit that Florida has an ace in the hole and one big advantage over the rest of the contenders.
That being his relationship with Evers.
“I think that’s one reason why Florida jumped up to No. 1 early on,” said Stewart, who paused a moment to try to find a way to put it diplomatically before going on. “I can say it because I really don't care, but every other college that is recruiting me, I don’t talk to any of their quarterbacks. Nick is the only quarterback that I talk to and he’s the only quarterback that I’ve thrown with that is committed to a school. I feel like that plays a part in my recruitment and for other schools that I don’t know your quarterback, I’m not going to go somewhere that I don’t know the quarterback.”
For his part, Evers wasn't just trying to convince Stewart this weekend, he had a litany of prospects he interacted with.
“I was talking to a lot of people,” replied Evers. “The guy who's already committed, Julian Humphrey, I was talking to him. I was really close with AZ – Azareyeh Thomas. I was really just kind of all over the place talking to everyone like Terrance [Gibbs] and all of them.”
Evers was also happy that the Gators added another highly sought-after receiver this weekend in 2023 four-star Raymond Cottrell.
“That's my boy,” said Evers. “When I first got here for the workout he told me that he's feeling this school and he's got some big news. So, I was one of the first people here that he told. That's my boy, I'm excited that he committed here and I'm just ready to get things going with him.”
With another month-long recruiting dead period beginning on Sunday, it will be at least a month before Florida can welcome prospects back on campus.
When they are allowed though, expect to see Evers early and often.
“As of right now I have the Alabama game planned,” said Evers. “I feel like everyone has to make it out here to the Swamp, to feel that environment. So that's one I'm going to be at for sure and then hopefully a few more games throughout the season.”
Then there's Stewart, who has already officially visited Florida and Texas and has official visits planned to Alabama and LSU. He said he will 'probably' take his fifth official visit to a random program that fans wouldn't think he would visit.
Then, perhaps, the five-star will be ready to make an announcement.
“I was aiming for before the season,” explained Stewart about his decision timeline. “That's not going to happen. I was aiming for midseason, but that's probably not going to happen either. So I don't know. I'm trying to get this over with.”