Gator Chomps: Jim McElwain, Jimbo Fisher have already had a handful of recruiting battles

Photo courtesy of Scarlett Florida running back Jordan Scarlett on his recruiting visit to FSU. GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jim McElwain has been on the recruiting trail for Florida for less than two years, but he’s already battled Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher a handful of times.

The Gators and Seminoles are competing for a few prospects in the Class of 2017, including 5-star wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and 4-star offensive tackle Navaughn Donaldson, a Miami commit.

Below are five recruiting battles between Fisher and McElwain: 4-star QB Deondre Francois, Bradenton, Fla.

Ranking: No. 3 pro-style quarterback , No. 64 overall prospect
Official visits: Florida State (Jan. 16), Florida (Jan. 23)
Recruitment: Francois committed to FSU prior to his senior season at IMG Academy. But a week after taking the UF job, McElwain went to see Francois on Dec. 11 and convinced the Under Armour All-American to officially visit Florida in January. Francois announced he was sticking with the Seminoles after his UF trip. But on a Jan. 29, a de-commitment tweet came from Francois’ Twitter account and an IMG assistant initially confirmed the news to a reporter. A couple of hours later, Francois said his account had been hacked and he was “still 100%” committed to FSU. The redshirt freshman is 8-3 as a starter this season and has thrown for 2,990 yards. Florida State QB Deondre Francois. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) 4-star RB Jordan Scarlett, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Ranking: No. 12 running back, No. 118 overall prospect
Official visits: Ohio State (Sept. 6), Wisconsin (Sept. 27), Miami (Jan. 16), Florida (Jan. 23), Florida State (Jan. 30)
Recruitment: Scarlett made an early commitment to Florida Atlantic because his high school coach joined the program, but he flipped to Miami in the summer of 2014. However, after the Hurricanes’ 6-7 season that year, Scarlett started wavering on his pledge. McElwain met the U.S. Army All-American on Dec. 11 and won him over during his official visit. However, Scarlett took a trip to Tallahassee on the last weekend before signing day and Fisher thought he would land him. He de-committed from Miami immediately after his FSU visit, but then chose UF the following day. Scarlett is now Florida’s feature back and has rushed for 725 yards in 2016. Florida RB Jordan Scarlett. (Rob Foldy/Getty Images) 4-star DE Antonneous Clayton, Vienna, Ga.

Ranking: No. 2 weakside defensive end, No. 26 overall prospect
Official visits: Florida (Jan. 22)
Recruitment: Clayton’s offer sheet was one shy of 40, and the Gators beat out Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee for his pledge. But the Seminoles continued pursuing Clayton, who told SEC Country he “got scared” when UF and FSU coaches crossed paths at his high school during the contact period. The Seminoles tried to get Clayton on campus for an official visit, but he declined after feeling pressured by Florida State defensive line coach Brad Lawing. Clayton earned a 5-star rating from Rivals and dominated in practices for the Under Armour All-America Game, but is […]