As Jim McElwain tries to rebuild Florida football into a championship program, one of his mottos is “recruit daily or die.” Join us here on SEC Country for a daily recap of the latest UF recruiting news, tales from the trail and perspective on what it all means for the Gators. 

Crossing paths with Malik Zaire

Justin Fields doesn’t get starstruck often.

When you’re the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback and your 7-on-7 coach is Cam Newton, it’s hard to be impressed. But that’s how Fields felt in early June after meeting new Florida quarterback Malik Zaire at the Elite 11 competition in Los Angeles.

Zaire, an Elite 11 finalist in 2012, was one of three counselors for the camp. He is featured below in a promotional video from the Elite 11.

Find a way to get better. Every day. The standard has been set. Will you rise up? 📈

— Elite11 (@Elite11) June 3, 2017

Zaire worked directly with Fields and the other quarterbacks throughout the three-day competition, offering everything from small pointers to motivational speeches.

“He is a cool dude,” Fields said of Zaire. “He is definitely inspiring. He talked to the whole group. It was definitely great.”

Florida quarterback Malik Zaire (middle right) speaking to Justin Fields (middle left) and other QB recruits at the Elite 11. (Yogi Roth/Elite 11)

The timing of the event couldn’t have been better for the Gators. News broke of Zaire’s transfer during the Elite 11 and Fields was planning to de-commit from Penn State as soon as the event ended.

Fields said he didn’t have a lot of 1-on-1 time with Zaire, but they did discuss the Gators at one point.

“He knew I was considering Florida and he told me it’s a great program. That was about it,” Fields said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how he does there. I think he

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