Florida lands 4-star defensive lineman despite not having a coach

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Florida parted ways with Dan Mullen at the beginning of the week, but that didn’t stop four-star Chris McClellan from committing to the university on Tuesday.

Ranked No. 101 in the 247 Composite, McClellan immediately becomes Florida’s top recruit after losing three top 100 players in the past month. The blue-chipper is sure that Florida will hire someone capable of giving the team a shot and said that the school environment won him over at the end of the day.

“No other school was really close in giving that feeling and sense of knowing I belong there,” McClellan said to 247Sports. “It’s just the environment there is like no other. It’s undefeated.”

Landing the 6-foot-3-inch, 295-pounder helped Florida move from No. 43 to No. 30 in 247Sports’ team rankings for 2022 recruiting. McClellan has been silently committed to Florida for three weeks now, and a talk with coaches after Mullen’s firing helped remind him that he’s coming to play for the university rather than one particular coach. That resonated with the young defensive lineman and McClellan made the decision to stay. Athletic director Scott Stricklin thanked him for the commitment and reassured McClellan that the coaching search would only benefit him.

Earning any commitment without a coach is tough, but holding onto McClellan is a big win for Florida. It shows others that UF is still a viable option right now and could help kick start the rebuilding process. Here’s what The Athletic’s G. Allan Taylor had to say.

McClellan had long been leaning toward Florida and previously delayed his commitment. His announcement shows that a lame-duck staff hasn’t folded up. Amid the uncertainty, Florida’s search for a new coach provides a pop of energy and portends that the program is making strides to get better. And one thing that’s not uncertain: the $85 million football training center to be unveiled next spring.

Florida seemed prime to crumble in recruiting after a disastrous season and without a coach, but McClellan has changed the narrative a bit. Beating out Alabama, USC and Ohio State isn’t easy, and other available recruits should be sure to notice.

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