2018 offensive 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 underclassmen 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 this first of a two part series Gator Country will look at offensive players that are high on the Florida Gators recruiting board for 2018.


The Gators got their quarterback for 2017 early last summer when Jake Allen committed but it doesn’t look at Florida will have the same luck in 2018. Florida will have a lot of quarterbacks on campus this summer in hopes of finding their guy but right now there is no clear-cut favorite. Here are some names to watch.

Emory Jones (6-4, 179, Franklin, GA Heard County) is a name to closely remember this summer as he takes more visits. Tennessee is widely considered the team to beat but some strong rumors say his parents don’t want him in Knoxville. Clemson, Florida and Georgia are the next teams up. Jones could be the second domino to fall between those three teams. Jones needs to visit Gainesville again fro the Gators to feel like they have a legit shot.

Trevor Lawrence (6-5, 200, Cartersville, GA High) is the first domino to likely fall here and he’s likely heading to Georgia barring anything crazy happening. Lawrence to Georgia would push Jones to either Clemson or Florida.

Swift Lyle (6-3, 185, Mobile, AL St. Paul’s) worked out for Florida at the Pensacola satellite camp and performed well in front of Doug Nussmeier. Lyle will visit and throw for Nussmeier in July again. Lyle doesn’t have many big offers at this time due to an injury last year. Many people believe Lyle has the potential to be better than Jacob Coker was coming out St. Paul’s a few years ago.

Michael Penix (6-3, 180, Tampa, FL Tech) has worked out for Florida a few times and did so this past month during the 7-on-7 tournament. Penix is supposed to camp for Nussmeier in July and that should determine where he stands with the Gators.

This is just a small sample of guys who plan on visiting in July and Gator Country will update you as we learn about more guys.

Running backs

Florida will likely only take one running back in 2017 so they will be looking for one to two in 2018 and it’s a good year to be looking for backs.

Zamir White (6-1, 210, Laurinburg, NC Scotland County) is one of the top prospects in the country and is someone Florida is after. Georgia and Clemson are the teams to beat right now but a visit to Gainesville could change that.

Lorenzo Lingard (6-0, 180, Orange City, FL University) is the top back in the state for next year. Right now Florida, Miami and Florida State are battling for his signature. Florida State is likely out due to having two backs already committed. If Florida really goes hard after Lingard the Gators have a great chance.

Brian Snead (5-11, 180, Seffner, FL Armwood) plans to visit Gainesville this coming month where he will work out for running backs coach Tim Skipper. Snead is a guy that is a good but not great back. Snead is likely a second back in the class but someone Florida can get if they want him.

Iverson Clement (5-11, 188, Mount Holly, NJ Rancocas Valley Reg. HS) is a big time prospect who visited Gainesville this spring. Clement has plans to visit Florida again, which would be a huge boast for the Gators. Right now Clement has no favorites.


The state of Florida is once again loaded with receivers and the Gators will likely try and sign three more in 2018. The Gators could actually start that off in a good way this summer as a couple of prospects could commit in July or August.

Mark Pope (6-1, 160, Miami, FL Southridge) is an elite receiver on a loaded team at Southridge. Florida and Alabama are the top two teams as Pope plans to commit this summer and while most say Alabama, the Gators have a great shot. The key is to get Pope back on campus in July and that should happen with his teammates at Friday Night Lights.

Jacob Copeland (6-1, 188, Pensacola, FL Pine Forest) is all over the place in his recruitment as he likes Florida, Florida State, Alabama and LSU. Copeland likely wait awhile to decide but the Gators must get him back on campus this summer.

Amari Burney (6-2, 205, Clearwater, FL Central Catholic) has visited Florida several times already and the Gators look to be in great shape with the Clearwater athlete. Burney has said he will visit Gainesville for Friday Night Lights in July.

Jermaine Eskridge (6-3, 198, Tampa, FL Jefferson) was once committed to Kentucky but backed off of that pledge. The Gators have always been a team high on Eskridge’s board and that remains the same today. A decision could come from Eskridge at any time.

Warren Thompson (6-4, 185, Seffner, FL Armwood) has Florida and Miami high on his list and bounces back and forth on who leads each day. Receiver’s coach Kerry Dixon has done a good job on Thompson as the Gators are likely to host Thompson this month. He’s another prospect who could decide at anytime now.

Brian Hightower (6-3, 197, Bradenton, FL IMG Academy) named Florida his leader earlier this spring and has had a big offseason by picking up a lot of offers. Clemson is another team to watch for Hightower.

Xavier Williams (6-0, 180, Hollywood, FL Chaminade Madonna) says he grew up a Gators fan and that should help Florida out here as Williams has offers from a lot of big schools. A summer decision could happen for Williams and the Gators would be the favorite.

Tight end

The Gators are likely taking two tight ends in the 2017 class, which means Florida likely only takes one in the 2018 class. There are two guys with offers from Florida early on but that list should expand in July.

Judge Culpepper (6-4, 236, Tampa, FL Plant) is a legacy prospect but that doesn’t mean the Gators are a sure thing to get him. There’s some talk that the Culpepper’s are still upset Florida didn’t take the older brother who plays quarterback now for Syracuse. Culpepper has visited Florida this year and he will be someone to monitor closely this coming fall.

Jeremy Ruckert (6-5, 220, Lindenhurst, NY Senior) picked up his offer shortly after dominating the Gators satellite camp in New York in June. Ruckert has yet to visit Gainesville but says he want to visit soon.

Offensive line

I feel like I can type the same thing for this every year and that’s that the Gators will likely sign four linemen in 2018. It’s almost a most every year to sign four guys in order insure that you have quality depth. Florida has a lot of guys to choose from instate in 2018 at the position as well.

Richard Gouraige (6-5, 270, Tampa, FL Cambridge Christian School) is a guy that is still trying to figure out the recruiting game but early on Florida has done a good job of recruiting him. Look for Gouraige to visit a lot of schools in July and this fall.

Jamarree Salyer (6-4, 327, Atlanta, GA Pace Academy) impressed the Gators staff during the satellite camp in Atlanta last month. Right now Georgia is team to beat with Salyer but apparently he liked the Gators staff enough to visit Gainesville soon.

Curtis Dunlap (6-6, 340, Bradenton, FL IMG Academy) grew up a big Gators fan and visited Gainesville twice this summer and plans to visit again in July. Florida has an excellent shot with Dunlap as he projects at guard in college.

William Barnes (6-4, 290, Apopka, FL High) is very close with Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey and Barnes picked up a Florida offer during camp in June. Barnes likes Florida a lot and the Gators are in good shape here.

Tank Jenkins (6-3, 346, Montgomery, AL Park Crossing) was teammates with current Gators safety Jeawon Taylor and has visited Gainesville a few times in the past. Jenkins is a guy that talks about leaving the state and the Gators could be the pick here.

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.