The Florida Gators are heading into the last weekend of the recruiting cycle before National Signing Day and they have a consensus top-ten class.
Florida is coming off a 10-4 season with major holes to fill and head coach Jim McElwain has done a phenomenal job filling in those holes early in the recruiting cycle. The twelve early enrollees that are currently on campus have already solidified many of those holes. Though the current momentum seems slows at this stage but that is due to the work done in previous months.
The Gators still have an opportunity to close strong. There are a few more options Florida has a shot with including Houston, Texas wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland, Montgomery, Alabama linebacker Lyndell “Mack” Wilson and Louisiana cornerback Kristian Fulton, who all visit this weekend. It will be tough to land all three, but the Gators have a legitimate shot at getting their signature. If the Gators can land a couple of these guys, and maybe another, that would be a huge close for them. Those, along with American Heritage defensive end Brian Burns, are the big fish left on the Gators board.
Outside of those, McElwain and his staff are also looking to boost the offensive line with New York JUCO transfer Malcolm Pridgeon, who can come in and contribute early. John Simpson is also another name to follow as we come down the stretch. Florida is also looking to add some help at the tight end position with the loss of Jake McGee. The staff has a great shot at adding American Heritage tight end Nick Eubanks a 6’6” target. Eubanks and his teammate Brian Burns visited the Gators this past weekend
Florida currently has 26 recruits in this class and twelve are already on campus. If the Gators do not close as strong as we desire there is no reason to panic. Any commitment will add to an already great class the Gators have. The staff is not done and may have a surprise up their sleeve as they are out on the road looking to sway or flip some commits. Remember they have already filled many needs that they had that they were looking to fill going into next year. There are quality players already committed that can come in and contribute early.
There are a few former sleepers in this class Florida is looking to hold onto. Deerfield Beach cornerback Aaron Robinson and defensive lineman Jachai Polite that committed early cycle. A lot of teams did not pay attention to them but they have boosted up the rankings and now the likes of Alabama and USC are trying to pursue at Robinson and Polite respectively. As reported, Robinson does have some questions surrounding test scores that will need to be resolved. IMG Academy defensive tackle Shavar Manuel and Jacksonville Raines linebacker Vosean Joseph are other commits that will continue to be pursued up until February 3rd. Joseph recently visited Tuscaloosa and Florida State is trying to get a flip from Manuel. I expect both to be Gators when all is said and done.
One of the most under appreciated abilities of this staff is the ability to evaluate talent early in the process. This staff has done a phenomenal job and at evaluating as you see increases in the exposure for plenty of Gator commits. Those evaluations should give us confidence that any player that comes on board is a quality player that will add needed to depth to this roster.
Because of increased media exposure around signing day, fans often look for their team to win the day. This staff is winning the long haul of the entire cycle. With a few more additions to this class, that will further solidify the quality of this entire class. Until pen hits paper nothing is guaranteed when it comes to signing 17 and 18 year old recruits. The Gators staff has done a lot of work on the recruiting trail since taking over. In McElwain’s first full recruiting cycle, they will look to finish strong and keep the momentum going in a positive direction.
I believe this Florida Gators recruiting class will land two or three more commitments that will boost the quality of this group, but if they don’t, do not go into a shell. If Florida doesn’t make the big splash on signing day they will finish with one of the best classes in the country. This class is very important to laying a strong foundation for future success.