A fun-filled official visit weekend and a long-standing connection with his position coach led to a commitment from Crawfordville (Fla.) Wakulla offensive lineman Jim Tartt.
“Jim’s over at his grandparents sharing the news right now,” said his father, Leonard Tartt. “He’s gone over there to tell them he’s a Florida Gator. I know he’s real excited about having things wrapped up.”
So what led to the decision for the nation’s No. 29 offensive guard?
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“I think there were a couple of things,” Leonard Tartt said. “We live on a farm here, surrounded by trees. Jim’s developed an interest in forestry, and I think he really liked what Florida had to offer in their agriculture program.
“But another big thing was Joe Wickline. There was a bond formed between them from the start. He was at some of the camps Jim went to, and they just formed a real strong relationship. Jim thinks an awful lot of coach Wickline… And we’ve had some other coaches tell us, once they found out that Jim really wasn’t as interested in them, that there isn’t a better O-Line coach around than Joe Wickline. I thought that really spoke volumes.”
Tartt (6-4, 310, 5.15) had also been considering Florida State and Clemson.
“It was a tough choice for him,” Leonard Tartt said. “He’s grown up 15 minutes from Tallahassee, and he’s always loved coach Bowden. Really, both Bobby and Tommy Bowden. But he just felt like Florida was the best fit. He knew in his heart that was the right place.”
It was a huge recruiting weekend for the Gators, who also picked up a verbal from four-star Florida offensive tackle Drew Miller. Tartt said fellow Sunshine State O-Linemen Chris Rutledge and Jason Watkins were also on hand, and felt good about the Gators’ chances with all of those players.