Down the stretch of the 2018 recruiting cycle, the Florida Gators found themselves playing some defense for one of the nation’s biggest offensive lineman recruits.
It worked: Richard Gouraige signed with the Gators on Wednesday despite showing late interest in Auburn and Clemson.
Welcome to the Florida Family @richardg813! #AllBite18 pic.twitter.com/JbbGtSw8gu— Dan Mullen (@CoachDanMullen) February 7, 2018
Watch @richardg813's top highlights! #AllBite18 #NSD18 pic.twitter.com/TlydDfgDgZ— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) February 7, 2018
Gouraige is — literally — a huge asset for Florida’s recruiting class, which needed to be stocked with offensive linemen to both shore up what was a shaky unit in 2017 and to guard against the possibility that what will be an upperclassman-heavy line in 2018 could be turned over almost entirely entering the 2019 season. At 6’5” and 250ish pounds, Gouraige will need to put on weight to compete with SEC defenders, but in his highlights above, it’s clear that he’s fine on the hoof and has the sort of frame that can very much stand to add weight and strength.
Gouraige was the last player to commit to Florida while Jim McElwain was still the Gators’ head coach, doing so just under two weeks before McElwain was fired in October 2017. But unlike many of the players who were then committed to the Gators, Gouraige never decommitted, and though worries about interest from both Auburn and Clemson persisted, that never came to the fruition of a flip.
Gouraige is the fourth player to sign with Florida on National Signing Day, following Justin Watkins, Griffin McDowell, and Jacob Copeland.