2018 defensive targets: Florida Gators recruiting

The 2017 class is going strong for the Florida Gators but with July’s summer camps coming up the 2018 class will be on display a lot.

In July the Gators will hold an under classmen camp the day before Friday Night Lights and a lot of 2018 and 2019 prospects will be on hand for that camp.

Gator Country talked in depth this week about the 2017 class but now we look at some names to remember in the 2018 class.

In the second of a two part series Gator Country will look at defensive players that are high on the Florida Gators recruiting board for 2018.

Defensive ends

The Gators haven’t offered a ton of defensive ends for the 2018 class but there are a few high on the Florida list already. It looks like the Gators will probably wants three in the 2018 class after only likely taking two in 2017. Here are some names to watch.

Stacy Kirby (6-3, 230, Orlando, FL Jones) is one of the top prospects in the state for next year and is someone the Gators have been recruiting hard. Florida and Florida State will battle it out for Kirby heading into next offseason. The Gators need to get him on campus this summer and fall to meet the coaching staff though.

Jonathan King (6-3, 230, Tampa, FL Tech) is teammates with Gators commit Daquon Green and picked up an offer this offseason. The Gators seem to be in good shape for the defensive end heading into his junior season.

K.J. Henry (6-5, 220, Clemmons, NC West Forsyth) goes to the same high school that Alex McCalister went too and the two talk often. Right now Clemson and North Carolina are the favorites, as Henry hasn’t visited Gainesville yet. The Gators are hoping to get him on campus as Henry has shown he has interest in Florida.

Defensive tackle

Florida is loading up at the position in 2017 which means 2018 will be a lighter year at the position. I expect that the Gators will likely only take two defensive tackles in next year’s class but that also depends on how well they finish in 2017. Here are some names to watch in 2017.

Timaje Porter (6-3, 320, Theodore, AL High) is monster inside and has good quickness for a guy his size. Porter likes the Gators a lot and is friends with former Theodore teammate now Florida running back Lamical Perine. Porter recently picked up offers from Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State and others but the Gators certainly have Porter’s attention.

Aeneas Hawkins (6-3, 260, Cincinnati, OH Archbishop Moeller) has already visited Florida this spring and says he wants to return for another visit either this summer or fall. Florida State is also a big contender in Hawkins recruitment but this one has a long time to go.

A lot more names should be added this summer and the fall.



The linebacker board for 2018 is slim right now but it’s still very early in the process at the position. Two to three is likely the number in 2018 like it’s in 2017. Here are two names to remember as more should be added soon.

Teradja Mitchell (6-2, 205, Virginia Beach, VA Bishop Sullivan) is a huge target for the Gators next year and Florida has done a good job of recruiting him hard already. Mitchell has a lot of interest in the Gators and may visit for Friday Night Lights this month.

J.J. Peterson (6-2, 210, Moultrie, GA Colquitt County) is another big target for Florida and someone the Gators are in good shape for. Peterson is one of the top linebackers in the country for 2018 and a top player in the state of Georgia.



2018 is a loaded year instate for defensive backs again and it looks like the Gators have done a good job of getting out ahead for some of these cornerbacks. Here’s some names to remember.

Patrick Surtain Jr. (6-2, 181, Fort Lauderdale, FL American Heritage) may be the best defensive back in the state this year and the Gators are a team in the mix here. Florida, LSU, Alabama and Florida State are all in the mix for this big time prospect but the Gators seem to be the team talked about the most.

Tyson Campbell (6-2, 180, Fort Lauderdale, FL American Heritage) has LSU, Miami, Florida, Clemson among his top schools but it likely comes down to Florida or Miami from what Gator Country has heard. Campbell is another big time prospect on the loaded American Heritage team.

Josh Jobe (6-1, 180, Miami, FL Columbus) is a Miami commit but someone the Gators would like to flip next year. Jobe has visited Gainesville several times this spring and is friends with several current Gators players and commits.

Gilbert Frierson (6-1, 185, Miami, FL Coral Gables) is another Miami commit that Florida is after. Frierson hasn’t visited Gainesville yet but is someone the Gators are trying to get on campus in hopes of getting his attention.

Jaylyn Armour-Davis (6-0, 160, Mobile, AL St. Paul’s) is one of the top prospects in Alabama for next year. Alabama, Florida and Auburn are all in the mix as Davis plans to visit Gainesville for Friday Night Lights this month.


Florida will likely need to sign one to two safeties in next year’s class depending upon whom they get in 2017. There are a few good prospects out there at the position.

Trey Dean (6-2, 180, Hampton, GA Dutchtown) is cousins with Ahmad Black and he was very happy to get his Florida offer this summer. Dean is someone the Gators have a great shot with.

Tyreke Johnson (6-1, 177, Jacksonville, FL Trinity Christian) is a big time player and the Gators have a lot of momentum with Johnson. Florida State was a team he was high on but his brother’s (Deandre) situation there has turned him against the Noles. UCLA and USC out west are also teams in the mix for Johnson.

Chamarri Conner (6-0, 183, Jacksonville, FL Trinity Christian) had a good spring game this year and is someone who has a lot of talent despite being over looked by Shaun Wade and Tyreke Johnson.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.