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Florida hires Ja’Juan Seider as assistant coach

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The Gators fill one vacant spot.

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Florida Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After a day of it being widely reported, the Florida Gators made the hiring of West Virginia running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider as an assistant coach official on Friday, announcing it through the program’s website.

Tellingly, the first paragraph of the story originally suggested it was actually announced Thursday, though the article did not go live until Friday morning.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain announced Thursday that Ja'Juan Seider will join his UF coaching staff as an assistant. Seider has spent the last four years at West Virginia as the Mountaineers running backs coach.

That paragraph has since been amended to read “announced Friday.”

Florida included quotes from both McElwain and Seider in the story.

McElwain:

"We are excited to have Ja'Juan in the Gator family. A lot is talked about his ability to recruit, but he is more than that – he is a great coach as well. Recruiting is about relationships and he does a great job of connecting and relating to players not only while is recruiting them, but while they are play for him and well after their playing days are over."

Seider:

"I've always had an affinity for this university and am honored to have the opportunity to join the Florida Gators family. I look forward to working with Coach Mac and his staff. I can't wait to meet the players, spend time with them and help them achieve their goals."

Florida’s release does not specify a position Seider will be responsible for, but he has been a running backs coach by trade, both at Marshall and West Virginia. Seider also added responsibility for coaching the Mountaineers’ tight ends midway through his time in Morgantown.

It has been widely speculated that Florida would hire a top-shelf recruiter as running backs coach, thanks to the flexibility afforded by current running backs coach Tim Skipper previously coaching linebackers.

It remains likely that Seider will be Florida’s running backs coach, and that Skipper will slide to the other side of the ball to accommodate that — especially because Randy Shannon worked with safeties, and not linebackers, while working as the Gators’ interim defensive coordinator during bowl preparation.

It is also possible that Seider will take the recruiting coordinator title that had been held by Shannon over the last two years, as Shannon’s responsibilities continue to shift in his new role as full-time defensive coordinator.

Florida still has one more spot to fill on its staff, which lost two coaches — defensive coordinator Geoff Collins and offensive line coach Mike Summers — in December and January, and did not make an external hire to replace them, with a reported effort to bring then-Alabama offensive analyst Mike Locksley to Gainesville falling through.