Now that Jim McElwain has been pegged as Florida’s new head coach, his most important task is to hit the recruiting trail in hopes of improving a Gators class that currently ranks No. 62 nationally.
While McElwain’s tenure as the head coach at Colorado State—where he went 22-16 over the past three seasons—is what allowed him to flash onto Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley’s radar, it's his tenure as Nick Saban's offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2008 to 2011 that will be his biggest selling point for luring top talent to Gainesville.
During his time in Tuscaloosa, McElwain helped guide the Tide to a pair of national titles in 2009 and 2011.
In that span, he helped recruit and coach an offensive line unit that is considered to be one of the best groups ever assembled, as noted by Don Kausler Jr. of AL.com.
McElwain's experience helping mold eventual first-round draft choices such as James Carpenter, D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack is likely to get Ivey’s attention.
Another one of the stars of those units in Tuscaloosa—former three-time All-American and current St. Louis Rams lineman Barrett Jones—lauded McElwain for his ability as a teacher of the game.
"He has a special ability to put things in terms that guys can understand," Jones told ESPN.com's Chris Low. "He's also great at getting guys to buy into the system and understands how to put guys in positions where they will be successful. He's an awesome coach and an even better guy."
Testimonials such as the nuggets from Jones are sure to help McElwain convince Ivey that he is the coach who can help him reach his immense potential at the college level.
Ivey admits that his knowledge of McElwain's history is limited, as he explained to GatorBait's Dan Meyer (subscription required):
I don't really know much about him. I know he was at Colorado State and I know he averaged 470 yards per game and I think 21st or 23rd in the nation on defense or something like that. The 470 yards, averaging that per game at Florida, that would be a big plus for him offensive wise. You want to be in an offense where you’re going to have success with the ball, gaining yards and scoring touchdowns.
It's no secret the Gators offense was mediocre under Will Muschamp. McElwain's biggest task will be to reshape that side of the ball and get the Gators back to employing an explosive and balanced attack.
Using his previous experience in the SEC, McElwain knows that task begins with building a formidable offensive line unit.
Landing Ivey—who also told Meyer he will make a visit to Gainesville to meet the new staff before he decides—is a critical piece to jump-starting his efforts to get the offense in gear.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.