Sometimes when a recruit commits to a school, it’s figuratively a big deal.
“My gosh, commit X is a huge commitment for school Y.”
Other times, a recruit is both figuratively and literally a big commitment for a school, and the Florida Gators know that firsthand after landing four-star defensive tackle Fred Hansard.
The 6-foot-3, 324-pound prospect is literally a big dude. He’s also an important piece for the Gators, committing to Jim McElwain and his staff over Rutgers, Tennessee and Penn State.
Beating out one SEC East rival and two notable Big Ten schools in a recruit’s region — Hansard is from Princeton, N.J. (Hun School) — is a notable recruiting win for Florida.
I have officially committed to… https://t.co/BAYjvn7Pyb
— Fred Hansard (@Fred_Hansard56) August 26, 2016
A thorough consideration of everything Hansard brings to the Gators puts the importance of this commitment into perspective.
“When Hansard flashes, he can absolutely blow up an offensive lineman. Best served as a one or three technique, Hansard moves well down the line of scrimmage and pursues, runs well for an interior lineman.”
Wiltfong also quotes Hansard’s high school coach, who obviously knows a thing or two about the big defensive tackle. He’s optimistic about Hansard’s high school talent translating to the SEC — where not just size, but also speed, is vital for a defensive lineman.
“He can play anywhere on the line of scrimmage,” Smith said, adding Hansard is down 20 pounds.
“He looks tremendous right now. He has his weight back down to where he needs to be and now his quickness is a factor along with his size.”
Though Rutgers, Tennessee and Penn State were considered the main schools in contention with the Gators for Hansard’s commitment, keep in mind that he had 30 offers, which is an incredible number. Schools not mentioned yet include Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Ole Miss, UCLA and Wisconsin. This is not just a ho-hum commitment for the Gators.
One might say it’s huge.
The fact of the matter is that Hansard can play anywhere in the nation, and he saw something at Florida — specifically in Florida’s defense — that made the Gators the best choice. That’s great news for Gator fans hoping for the revival of the program after the doldrum years of Will Muschamp.
So far so good.
Florida went 10-4 last season in McElwain’s first season, and though they didn’t finish strong, the Gators did win the SEC East Division and finished No. 25 in the final AP Poll.
McElwain’s first recruiting class — in the 2016 cycle — finished No. 13 nationally and No. 6 in the SEC, according to 247Sports. McElwain landed nine four-star recruits, led by 6-foot-3, 218-pound weak-side defensive end Antonneous Clayton.
Now with the addition of Hansard, Florida’s 2017 class is ranked No. 14 nationally and No. 7 in the SEC, with plenty of time still to go.
Hansard checks in as the fifth-highest-rated recruit in the class, and he’s one of eight four-stars. If he can live up to his potential, he projects to be a big part of the turnaround in Gainesville.