The Florida Gators picked up an important commitment on Wednesday from 2017 quarterback Jake Allen.
The 6-foot-3, 191-pound signal-caller from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas is the first quarterback to give his pledge to new head coach Jim McElwain since he took over the Florida program in December.
"After speaking with my head coach and my quarterback coach, we believe that this makes the most sense for me," Allen said. "I like the offense that [offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier] runs and it's just the way it felt when I was up there on my visit the last time -- it just felt like family and I was comfortable there. I felt ready -- I feel like it's time to pull the trigger and get started on this recruiting class."
After several recent spring and summer visits including trips to Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and Michigan, Allen decided it was time to make a college decision.
Florida failed to finish in the top 90 in the FBS in total offense during Will Muschamp's tenure as head coach, which made landing a top quarterback difficult.
The Gators didn't sign a quarterback in the 2015 recruiting cycle and have yet to gain a commit for the 2016 class, either. Allen, however, doesn't seem to be concerned at where Florida stands right now on offense.
"I believe in what Coach Mac and Coach Nuss are running over there," Allen said. "I think because Coach Mac is an offensive guy, he's going to get this thing going. I'm excited to see what they are going to do this year. It's going to be exciting. It's a pro-style offense that I feel comfortable with. It just makes sense for me to commit to Florida right now."
Allen, who will be entering his junior year, said he gained some valuable advice from Eric Kresser, who is his personal quarterback coach and friend.
Kresser played for Florida in the mid-'90s before transferring to Marshall where he won an NCAA Division I-AA national championship in 1996.
"We just talked about what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to be a Gator, but before we decided to do anything, we sat down and he gave me some advice," Allen said. "We wrote down the pros and the cons, and the biggest thing is Coach Mac and Coach Nuss and the system they are running.
"Florida is five hours away, I don't have to hop on a plane and fly across the country for my family to see a game or if I want to come home for the weekend. He helped me throughout the process. I've worked with him since I was in sixth grade and I trust him."
The Florida coaching staff was excited to learn of Allen's commitment, not only because of his physical talents but because he can start to help recruit other 2017 prospects.
"Coach Mac said I made his Fourth of July," Allen said. "It was just exciting to break the news to them. They are excited for me to get recruiting this 2017 class. I'm going to help recruit the best guys in the country. I'm not being cocky or anything, but I know guys want to play with me so I'm going to get the top guys in the country to come play with me -- on both sides of the ball."
The Gators now have two 2017 commits along with wide receiver Lavarus Tigner, who committed in June.
The Gators' 2016 class is currently ranked No. 22 in the ESPN class rankings with 14 commits, including two in the ESPN 300.