Four-star QB Max Staver and Florida jump to the top of each other's lists

By Jeff Barlis
ESPN.com

 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- One by one he watched them go, undecided quarterbacks making their commitments in recent weeks, each one taking another spot, taking away another potential home.

Did it bother Max Staver, the still-uncommitted four-star quarterback from Brentwood, Tenn.?

Ab-so-lutely.

He stretched the word as it crossed his lips, emphasizing the disappointment and frustration of a recruitment that has swooned as much as it has soared.

TOM HAUCK/ESPNHS Quarterback Max Staver, pictured at the Elite 11 in Buford, Ga. in March, is the No. 5 propsect in the state of Tennessee.

TOM HAUCK/ESPNHS
Quarterback Max Staver, pictured at the Elite 11 in Buford, Ga. in March, is the No. 5 propsect in the state of Tennessee.

"My top three schools were Auburn, Alabama and LSU. All three got commits in the same week," Staver said. "A couple of weeks ago I was depressed. I was like, dude, where do I go from here? What am I thinking? And then something just snapped inside of me and I'm like, 'I've got to relax. Settle down. It's all going to work itself out.' "

Perhaps it has.

Staver found another potential home at Florida when he participated in the opening day of the Will Muschamp Gators Football camp on Saturday. His mission was clear — pass his way into UF's plans.

Like Staver, Florida has watched a string of quarterback prospects commit in recent weeks. The Gators missed on so many targets, they even pondered not taking a quarterback in this year's class.

Staver may have changed their minds on Saturday.

"I was clicking. I was gassin' it. Laser shots," Staver said of his performance. "Muschamp said I'm one of the best he's ever seen throw the comeback [route]. He said I have a strong arm, really accurate.

"I did not get an offer, but I lit the camp up. I was by far the best one there. I met with Coach Muschamp and coach [Brent] Pease for two hours afterward. They said, 'As of right now, you are our top guy, our No. 1 quarterback.' "

The coaches told Staver they had promised to evaluate some other quarterbacks during camp and would make a decision around the end of camp on Saturday, June 16.

Staver believes that offer will be his.

Three of those other QBs on Saturday were four-star Chris Laviano, unrated Heys McMath and two-star prospect Boeing Brown. Four-star dual-threat quarterback Asiantii Woulard was expected on opening day but rescheduled for later this week.

Meanwhile, Staver made a strong connection with Florida and its coaching staff.

"I loved it down here. Great campus. I have a great feel for the university," he said. "Coach Pease is hard on you. There is no doubt he is going to push you to your limits. He's all about business, but he likes to have fun, too. He's a great guy. I really got to know him a lot better today.

"Pease said the four things he looks for are toughness, preparation, accuracy and decision-making. He said I have those four qualities."

He’s got ideal height. He’s already got significant bulk to his frame. But most importantly, the ball absolutely jumps off of his hand. He’s got natural wrist velocity. He can make all the throws. He really hums it.
— Tom Luginbill, ESPN national recruiting director, on the 6-foot-6, 238-pound Staver

ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill was similarly impressed with Staver this spring, calling him "quite possibly one of the most physically gifted pure-passers" at the Atlanta Elite 11 camp in April.

Staver was very happy to learn that he made the new ESPN 300 top prospects list at No. 251, another high in his circuitous recruitment. He is rated the No. 15 pocket passer in the nation and the No. 5 prospect in the state of Tennessee.

Saturday night, however, Staver's thoughts were all on Gainesville and the Gators.

"All around it was a great day. Their offense is fitting for me," he said. "I'm not jumping to any conclusions about jumping on a commitment when they offer. They are one of my top schools, no doubt, along with Mississippi State and Duke.

"I would like to do it in two weeks. I'd say I'll probably be ready to make a decision. That gives me a little bit of time to just focus on football during the summertime. It's been a long process for me, a lot of ups and downs. But if it doesn't work out I will wait more towards the beginning of the season, maybe in early August."

As his recruitment has once again turned from valley to peak, Staver insists he will keep perspective.

"This was a big day for me today," he said. "I just have to continue to keep proving myself, keep that chip on my shoulder and keep moving forward."

Ab-so-lutely.