The bulk of the 2022 recruiting cycle approaches with face-to-face interactions being allowed starting on June 1.
Giving athletes an opportunity to travel to college campuses and narrow down their list to one final school, the months of June and July will be pivotal for landing the nation’s top talent, especially for the Florida Gators.
While some prospects still sit in a position of uncertainty prior to the lifting of a 15-month long dead period, others look to confirm their previous dispositions on visits to their top schools.
On Sunday, AllGators caught up with Rockwell-Heath High School wide receiver Jay Fair, who is an example of the latter. Naming his top three of Auburn, TCU and Florida in no particular order to AllGators, Fair shared his confidence that one of those three schools would be the place for him to continue his playing career.
“I think it’s going to be pretty hard to build a relationship now considering I already have a pretty strong relationship with the three schools I’m taking an official to," Fair explained.
“So, any new schools that come into the mix or any other schools that might be late on recruiting me, I don’t think will really play a factor in my overall decision.”
When asked about what draws him to Florida, Fair spoke candidly about the top-tier education they provide and the history coach Gonzales and the Gators have from a developmental standpoint.
“Foremost the education is one of the most important things when I look at it, for any school. It’s really top of the country at Florida. The school’s history overall. Coach Gonzales has a history of putting receivers in the draft and the school itself has a history of putting players in the draft,” Fair said. “So, you know, I’m really looking forward to learning more about that.”
Accounting for 73 receptions, 1,310 yards and 13 touchdowns on the year in 2020, Fair burst onto the scene with his track speed and versatility from the wide receiver position — highly coveted traits for the Gators throughout this cycle — leading wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales and head coach Dan Mullen to stay in daily contact with the Rockwell (Tx.) native.
Next season, Fair looks to continue on his trend of impressive performance with “2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns,” emphasizing being consistent in his play.
“It’s really just about staying consistent. I’ve seen a lot of guys have a really good season then drop off the next season. So it’s really just about staying consistent, keeping my goals in mind and making sure the team does well.”
Having yet to discuss the role he would assume in the Gators offensive game plan if he was to choose UF, Fair believes that will happen on his official visit to the school. For now, Fair says the discussions have mostly consisted of topics aside from football, consistent with the Florida recruiting style that helps build a personal relationship between both sides.
Slated to visit Florida on June 11, Fair will get his first in-depth look of the Gators campus and what the program entails, a process he is excited for.
“I’m just trying to really feel the love and connection. You know, since I haven’t gotten a chance to get down to campus or really do a zoom yet, I’m really hoping I feel the same thing I feel over the phone in person.”
As for the other schools in contention, TCU and Auburn, Fair gave insight into his liking of each program.
In regards to TCU, Fair’s relationship with coach Kelly paired with Kelly’s track record for NFL production — plus a presumed comfortability given the proximity to home — plays a vital role in his liking of the Horned Frogs.
“Me and coach Kelly have a really good relationship. I feel like he’s known for producing receivers and [players] as a whole. They’re always one of the schools that end up having high draft picks every other year, if not every year.”
Meanwhile, Fair’s draw to Auburn was less about production and more about the excitement for the future. When asked about the Tigers, Fair outlined the aspect of familiarity within the student body and the fresh start for the Tigers program’s given the coaching regime change.
“I have a cousin down there named Daniel. We pretty much talk on the regular and just hearing all the things he says about it sounds like a pretty great program. I heard they’re trying to turn around and change the offense up a little bit so I’m kind of interested in what they have going on over there.”
Simply put, “I feel like it could be something pretty good in the future.”
Having a cousin to bring familiarity at Auburn “definitely [plays] a big role. But, you know, overall I wouldn’t just base a decision off of that. I think like there are a lot of others factors that would have to contribute along with that.”
With said decision approaching, Fair is doing his due diligence to ensure he is making the best decision for himself.
“At first I thought about doing it before but then I felt like that would give all the schools I’m taking an official to a fair chance. So, I’ll try to do it sometime after June, probably the start of July.”
Despite having room to work to edge out the other schools in contention for his services, Florida remains in a firm position to land the speedster from the plentiful well of Texas.
With little time left before his commitment, the official visit to Florida on the second weekend of June will play a major factor in his final decision.