Florida Gators Football Recruiting: Levi Jones Update

BY Fansided and Maxwell Ogden/FanSided via Hail Florida Hail • December 29, 2016

Randy Shannon and the Florida Gators football team have emerged as a legitimate option for four-star linebacker Levi Jones.

The Florida Gators football team has firmly established itself as one of the most dominant defensive forces in the country. Anchored by senior star and emotional leader Jarrad Davis, the Gators have contained even the most explosive of offenses.

With Davis soon to depart for the NFL, it appears as though Florida is positioning itself to land one of the best linebackers in the 2017 recruiting class.

Levi Jones is an Austin, Texas native who has drawn significant praise from around the country. Though many expect him to remain in-state and play for either the Texas A&M Aggies or Texas Longhorns, the Gators could have an understated advantage.

According to Zach Abolverdi of SEC Country, Jones is intrigued by the possibility of playing for the man who coached his father, Robert Jones: Gators interim defensive coordinator Randy Shannon.

“Randy Shannon coached my dad,” Jones revealed Tuesday at the hotel check-in for the Under Armour All-America Game. “He’s known me since a little boy. But the whole recruiting process, we just grew closer as well.”

Jones’ father played for Shannon with the Miami Dolphins between 1998 and 2000. That followed his winning three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.

As for the younger Jones, he confirmed that Shannon’s presence would make him feel secure with his decision to attend Florida.

“Our relationship I feel like is great,” Jones said of Shannon. “I feel secure if I were to go there to some degree (because of him), but that’s why I want to go visit and check it out. Just for confirmation.

This is a prime example of how the recruiting process can often be bigger than the sport itself.

Shannon has replaced Geoff Collins as the interim defensive coordinator for the Gators’ appearance in the Outback Bowl. Collins left Florida to take the job as head coach of the Temple Owls.

Shannon spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons as the linebackers coach and will have a chance to lead Florida’s defense against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

If Shannon has the interim tag removed, he could become both the leader and recruiter that Florida needs in order to land high-level recruits.

That could begin with Jones, who’s currently ranked No. 121 on the ESPN 300 and No. 170 on the 247Sports National Composite. An athletic outside linebacker who shows strong recognition skills, his upside is that of a star in the defensive-minded SEC.

Though Florida will be facing an uphill battle, it has quite the helping hand in Shannon’s presence.

The next few weeks will be some of the biggest of Shannon’s coaching career.

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