When the month of February began, Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson linebacker Raphael Kirby had no offers.
Today, he has four of them.
"Florida was the first to offer," Kirby said. "That was like two weeks ago. It was very exciting that Florida was first. That meant a lot. They saw something in me. I appreciate it, and take it with great honor. That took a lot of [pressure] off as far as the recruiting process."
After the Gators offered, Mississippi State, South Florida and Southern Miss followed.
And, "I'm hearing a lot from Tennessee, Florida State and Alabama," Kirby said.
The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Kirby and 10 of his Stephenson teammates visited Florida last weekend for junior day. While the group was in Gainesville, running back Mike Davis committed to the Gators. Kirby did not, but nonetheless said he enjoyed the trip and thinks highly of the program.
In fact …
"Florida is the leader right now," he said. "It went well. I got a chance to meet all the coaches, and to speak with [linebackers coach] D.J. Durkin. He's a real nice guy. He informed me about the different schemes and how I'd fit in. I was pleased with what he had to say. I met with [head coach Will] Muschamp and also met with [defensive coordinator Dan] Quinn," Kirby said. "Coach Quinn showed me a little film, basically of defensive schemes. If they run the 3-4, I'll be inside. If they run the 4-3, I'll be outside."
What stood out about the visit?
"I really have to go with the environment," Kirby said. "Especially the coaching environment and the competitive environment. I can feel the vibe. The vibe was tremendous."
Next up for Kirby?
"I'm visiting Tennessee this weekend," he said. "I want to get down there and see how I fit in with their philosophy, and how I fit in with the environment."
After that trip, Kirby plans on watching a few spring practices, one of which likely will be back in Gainesville.
"I think I'm going to go back in March and check [the Gators] out," Kirby said.