Florida recruiting: What you need to know about the Gators' Early Signing class
Since Billy Napier replaced Dan Mullen as Florida’s head coach on Nov. 28, the Gators’ recruiting class has dwindled down to 7 names. Discouraging as that may seem, Napier is preaching patience: “(We’re) trying to position ourselves for post-Signing Day to evaluate all the players that are left over, all the players in the transfer portal,” he told Sports Illustrated. Here’s an overview of the Early Signing Day class for a program in transition.
By the numbers
Overall rank: 79
SEC rank: 14
Did they find a future QB?
They did not. Nick Evers, a 4-star recruit out of Flower Mound, Texas, and the 8th-ranked QB in the nation per 247Sports, decommitted after meeting with Napier and is headed to Oklahoma — so out of conference, at least. That leaves UF with holdovers Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson, plus whatever the transfer portal offers.
Who is the best offensive player?
Tackle Tony Livingston is the Gators’ only 4-star recruit on offense. The 6-4, 260-pound Tampa, Fla., product is a good enough athlete to have played tight end in his sophomore and junior seasons at King High, and he has a wide enough frame to pack on some much-needed weight. He’s raw but has a considerable ceiling.
Who is the best defensive player?
Chris McClellan, a 4-star defensive lineman from Owasso, Okla., is the gem of this class, and he quickly reaffirmed his commitment after Napier’s hiring. McClellan is a massively-built, long-armed 6-3, 295 pounder who wears his weight well and has the quick-twitch actions you’d expect from someone who has also wrestled. He could become a major disruptor on Florida’s d-line.
What position did they recruit the best?
The Gators picked up 4 commitments on the offensive line, Livingston plus 3-stars Jalen Farmer, David Conner and Christian Williams. The latter 3 are projects but have plenty of raw materials to work with. The 6-5, 325-pound Farmer, who played on both sides of the line in high school, flashes good lateral movement and shows a real mean streak. Conner has the height (6-6), length (his arms nearly meet his kneecaps) and upper-body strength to develop into a starting tackle. Williams, a 6-4, 320-pound guard, flipped from Louisiana to follow Napier, the ex-Ragin’ Cajuns coach, to UF.
What position do they still need to recruit?
What don’t they? With 6 players in the trenches and 1 kicker, Florida’s class is, well, a little light; 247Sports ranks it just ahead of Fresno State’s — and, though we hate to pile on, behind those of Arkansas State, Central Michigan and Appalachian State. Decommits hit the defense and wide receiver corps especially hard; notably, 4-star cornerback Julian Humphrey flipped to Georgia, and 4-star linebacker Shemar James is choosing between the Bulldogs and Alabama.
Did they keep the best in-state players home?
That would be no. The Gators got commitments from none of the top 10 players in Florida, none of the next 10, either, after receiver Jayden Gibson decommitted less than a week ago.
Overall, how should you feel about this class?
Apologies for repeating ourselves, but you should probably feel like your program is in transition, which is what it is. The slew of decommits isn’t ideal, but Napier — who is still assembling his staff — deserves a long leash here.