As soon as the clock struck midnight on Monday evening coaches were able to contact players in the 2023 class and as is tradition, they first get in touch with the players they are most interested in to communicate to them their importance and priority.
For this reason, we’re now able to see who some of Florida’s top targets are in 2023.
One of the first players Florida contacted was 6’5” Dacula, Georgia product Mari Jordan. Jordan is currently unranked, though at this point most scouting services only have about the top 50 players in the 2023 class ranked so there is plenty of elite talent that would currently be “unranked.” Of course, it’s also early to be ranking 2023 players, so there will be plenty of movement in these rankings before these players ultimately head to college. Jordan has long arms and a variety of skills, from prototypical forward abilities like catching lobs and rebounding to guard skills to handle the ball and initiate offense. This is the kind of player that Florida has totally needed and you can see why they reached out.
Other unrated targets Florida reached out to were Newport News, Virginia native Trevor Smith, a speedy point guard, Jason Jackson, a smooth scoring guard from Sarasota, Florida, and 6’6” wing Kris Parker from Quincy, Florida. These are three guys that might not have huge accolades yet but have all received plenty of high major offers, meaning they are likely to end up as somewhere near top 100 or top 150 level recruits.
What is interesting about Florida’s 2023 offers is that there is a distinctly different feel to the level of player they’re after than has been the case recently.
In the 2021 class, the Gators didn’t pursue many elite prospects. Yes, their lone commit Kowacie Reeves is an elite 5-star talent, but when Florida first offered him he was a 3-star.
In the 2022 class, most of the players Florida is in deep with are ranked between 75-175. Still great players, certainly, but mostly lower-end 4-stars.
Fast forward to right now and the 2023 class and the Gators have started shooting for the stars. Well, the 5-stars, at least.
Florida went and offered Elijah Fisher, the 4th ranked player in the class who is a 6’6” dynamic athlete from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
They offered 6’1” Marietta, Georgia guard Isaiah Collier, ranked 22nd in the class.
They also offered Kwame Evans Jr. (6’8”, 190), the 5th ranked player in the class, and JJ Taylor (6’8”, 185), the 7th ranked player in the class.
Matt and Ryan Bewley, 6’9” post players from Orlando, are headed to play in the nearly-started Overtime league but they were the 2nd and 16th ranked players in the class and Florida offered them.
Finally, 17th ranked Milton, Georgia native Kanaan Carlyle also received an offer from Florida.
All 5-star players.
These are more 5-star players offered by Florida in one cycle than in the last three combined. This is a pretty major change in recruiting philosophy, and one that shows a ton of confidence. Is it because Florida’s NIL laws will give the Gators an advantage recruiting these kinds of players? That could certainly play a role. Plenty of high school stars have discussed how NIL laws and the ability to profit while in college is playing a role in their recruitment and that could be a big reason why the Gators feel so confident going after big-name players.
This could also be a response to the upcoming NBA Draft where Tre Mann will get drafted. Florida hasn’t had a draft pick in a number of years, and now that they have one that will likely get selected in the first round and possibly even the lottery they might be trying to capitalize on that good press.
Florida’s new assistant coaches will have some big recruitments on their hands trying to land some of the best players in the class. With so many of them from Georgia, associate coach Al Pinkins will likely have a huge role in their recruitments.
It’s so early in the process so it’s tough to know exactly where the Gators stand with each prospect but the one they are rumoured to already be in the lead for is Isaiah Collier. Collier is pure skill and craftiness, someone who is an absolute joy to watch play basketball. Whether it’s dribble moves or passing decisions everything he does is with a high level of intelligence and for him to show that level of IQ so early you can only imagine what he’ll be in the year 2023. The Gators have had good success with point guards under Mike White so they should have a decent pitch to players like this and he would be a fantastic 5-star to land.
There will certainly be more 2023 offers to come out soon, so keep it locked to Gator Country for your recruiting news.