Five most important recruits Florida must sign to finish 2016 class
Currently, Florida has the No. 14 recruiting class in the country, and it’s by no coincidence. Under coach Jim McElwain, the Gators have sustained some success on the recruiting trail. As it stands, McElwain has landed 14 three-star prospects and six four-stars. However, Florida has yet to secure a commitment from a 5-star prospect. That could change in the coming months, though. Below, find out which five targets the Gators need to secure signatures from in January to top off its 2016 class.
5-star OLB Lyndell Wilson, Carver-Montgomery (undecided)
- Resides: Montgomery, Ala.
- Ranking: No. 1 OLB, No. 13 overall in the country
- Measurements: 6-foot-2, 220 pounds
- Main schools competing for him: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Clemson and Florida State, among others
- Chances of landing him: Florida is the team to beat here. Wilson, the top outside linebacker in the country, announced the Gators as his leader earlier in the month. He’s developed a strong relationship with coach Jim McElwain and his staff, though he only took one unofficial to Gainesville, Fla., over the summer. Also working in Florida’s favor is Wilson’s relationship with Gators commit and best friend Jeawon Taylor, who plays down the road from him at Park Crossing High School.
4-star WR Nate Craig-Myers, Tampa Catholic (undecided)
- Resides: Tampa, Fla.
- Ranking: No. 3 WR, No. 35 overall in the country, No. 7 player in Florida
- Measurements: 6-foot-2, 205 pounds
- Main schools competing for him: Florida, Florida State, Auburn and Ohio State, among others
- Chances of landing him: Myers has been Florida’s to lose for quite some time, and it’s unlikely the Gators miss out on one of top receivers in this year’s class. Just last Friday, McElwain and receivers coach Kerry Dixon were on the sidelines for Myers’ game. Of course, McElwain celebrated a Myers’ touchdown with an emphatic Gator Chomp. Nonetheless, Florida is recruiting Myers hard and he appears to be one of the top priorities on its board. It also helps that Myers’ brother, Jayvaughn Myers, a 4-star cornerback from Dade City, Fla., is committed to the Gators.
3-star OT Marcus Tatum, Mainland (undecided)
- Resides: Daytona Beach, Fla.
- Ranking: No. 40 OT in the country
- Measurements: 6-foot-6, 256 pounds
- Main schools competing for him: Florida, Tennessee and Miami, among others
- Chances of landing him: Tatum appears to be a priority for the Gators, who have only secured two verbal commitments from offensive lineman. One of which, Brett Heggie (Mount Dora, Fla.), is a center. That leaves Florida with just one offensive tackle verbally committed in this year’s class. Tatum is just down the road and has long been considered a heavy Florida lean, per 247Sports.com’s Crystal Ball predictions. He last took an unofficial visit to Florida on Sept. 26. It would appear, however, that Tatum is being courted heavily by Tennessee, and the Volunteers are the first school he’s scheduled an official visit to.
4-star DE Antonneous Clayton, Dooly County (Florida)
- Resides: Vienna, Ga.
- Ranking: No. 99 player in the country, No. 12 player in Georgia
- Measurements: 6-foot-3, 218 pounds
- Main schools competing for him: Florida, Auburn, Florida State, Oklahoma and Tennessee, among others
- Chances of landing him: As of a few weeks ago, the Gators are at the head of the table for Clayton, the No. 8 weakside defensive end in the country. Clayton took an unofficial visit to Florida on Sept. 26, where he pegged the Gators his leader. He recently took to Twitter to announce he would be heading to Jacksonville, Fla., this weekend for Florida’s neutral site game against UGA. Florida is in need of an elite pass-rusher, and Clayton fits the bill.
- UPDATE: Clayton committed to the Gators on Wednesday morning.
4-star WR Sam Bruce, St. Thomas Aquinas (Miami)
- Resides: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- Ranking: No. 5 wide receiver, No. 58 player in the country, No. 10 player in Florida
- Measurements: 5-foot-8, 180 pounds
- Main schools competing for him: Florida, Florida State and Ohio State, among others
- Chances of landing him: Despite Bruce’s commitment to Miami, Florida appears to be a strong contender in his recruitment particularly now on the heels of the firing of Al Golden. Of course, it won’t be easy for the Gators. Bruce took to Twitter to voice his support for Miami and receivers coach Kevin Beard. “As long as KB there, I’m there,” he said. The 4-star has been Florida’s to lose for quite some time, and he told SEC Country last week that the Gators have been recruiting him heavily as of late. Expect his decision to come down to the wire.