Gators already transitioning to 2017 season

Florida running back Jordan Scarlett looks to hit the crease during the second half Monday against Iowa in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Florida beat Iowa 30-3. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun) Only hours after their 30-3 win over Iowa in the Outback Bowl, the Florida Gators started transitioning to the 2017 season.

Jim McElwain met with the top underclassmen about the NFL draft Tuesday, the offseason program begins today, a handful of early enrollees will start this week, a new defensive coordinator likely will be in place by early next week and recruiting will be in full swing through the first Wednesday in February.

Only moments after Monday’s game in Tampa, McElwain was already optimistically looking ahead.

“We’ve got a lot of really good recruits that are excited to be Gators,” he said. “We had a heck of a year. Two straight SEC East championships, new facilities.

“We’ll look for the commitment that we get from the administration moving forward, see where that’s at. We’ve got a lot of good young plays that have played a lot of football for us this year, and they’ll teach the guys that are coming in.

“This was a — and still is — a heck of a building process. We’re headed to building it, and we’re building it right.”

Coming off the big win over Iowa, senior quarterback Austin Appleby said McElwain is building a championship program.

"To a national championship,” he said. “As he continues to get the pieces he needs, as he continues to get the resources and bring the guys he needs in, the more that this Gator fan base and media can support him in what he’s doing and not question what he’s doing, the more that he’s going to be able to bring this program to the top.

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