Florida win over Tennessee 'perfect timing' for visit from 5-star DL LJ McCray

Collin Ginnan09/18/23
Article written by:On3 imageCollin Ginnan


Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland defensive lineman LJ McCray ended last week on a high note with a successful unofficial visit to Florida before being named an On3 five-star prospect on Monday.

McCray, now the No. 8 prospect nationally in the 2024 On300, visited the Gators for their win over then-No. 11 Tennessee.

The 6-foot-6, 275-pound McCray has taken multiple trips to Gainesville, including for an official visit in June. For this latest visit, Florida recruiting insider Corey Bender spoke with Josh Newberg on On3’s The Inside Scoop about how the Gators were able to prove to McCray what they’ve been preaching throughout his recruitment.

“I think it was perfect timing for Florida,” Bender said about McCray’s visit. “What we were told it was a one-of-a-kind experience. Florida backed up what they had been saying all along. You and I have talked about this before, a lot of these schools you can be an off-season all-star. You can say all the right things and have the big visit weekends. But Florida, this was the big game circled on the calendar for them and they knocked it out of the park with arguably their biggest visit weekend of the year.

“So they’ve backed up what they’ve been preaching and McCray took notice of that. He really liked the energy, the physicality from the defensive line as well. He’s not going to announce until October, FSU still has an ‘OV’ on the schedule too. I think that’s going to be the really determining date I think in his recruitment. I think Florida and Georgia right now are the two schools that I’ve been hearing the most about, but Florida State is right there and they have the opportunity to strike gold next month, too.”

Florida currently leads in the On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine for McCray. The Gators have a 37.8% chance to land his commitment according to the RPM, with Georgia, Florida State and Miami all trailing with double-digit percentages.

Newberg asked Bender if this visit was enough to land McCray if it ends up being his last trip to Gainesville.

“I think so,” Bender said. “I think right now if that was his last trip, it couldn’t have went any better. I think going into the visit, Josh — you and I have spoken off the radar about this — Florida was in a really good spot entering the weekend and I think if you’re Billy Napier’s staff, if you’re Billy Napier the d-line coach, you have to be brimming with joy. It couldn’t have went out any better on the field. They spent a lot of time with him before and after the game as well. They had a really good showing.

“They showed him everything they have in the off-season, the kid has seen everything around Gainesville. He’s familiar with campus, it’s not that far of a drive from Daytona Beach. It was really about showing that growth on the field, really showing what they’ve been preaching. And Florida lived up to everything they’ve been saying to him.”