Florida coach Jim McElwain and his staff will need to close strong in this year’s recruiting cycle.
UF entered the dead period with the nation’s No. 20 class, which ranks ninth in the SEC. The Gators have landed some key prospects at positions of need, but the majority of their 5-star targets chose to play elsewhere this past week.
Florida has room for at least eight more recruits to join the class, and those spots must be filled with quality additions by National Signing Day (Feb. 1). Fortunately for the Gators, they still have several top targets remaining on the board.
Who has taken official visits?
The Florida coaching staff prefers to only let out-of-state early enrollees officially visit during the season, as well as UF commits who plan to enroll in January. The Gators have hosted 11 prospects for official visits thus far.
That includes five members of Florida’s 2017 class: 4-star offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort (Miami), 4-star tight end Kemore Gamble (Miami), 3-star cornerback Shawn Davis (Miami), 3-star linebacker James Houston (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and 3-star defensive tackle Kyree Campbell (Kingston, Pa.). Former JUCO defensive tackle commit Javier Edwards (Brenham, Texas) also visited, but he signed with Colorado.
The five targets UF hosted that have since committed to the another school, reaffirmed their initial pledge or will not choose the Gators: 5-star wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (Detroit), 5-star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood (Pensacola, Fla.), 4-star offensive tackle Navaughn Donaldson (Miami), 4-star linebacker Anthony Hines (Plano, Texas) and 4-star center Cesar Ruiz (Bradenton, Fla.).
Who has official visits scheduled?
4-star cornerback C.J. Henderson (Miami) and 3-star defensive tackles Alec Jackson (Montgomery, Ala.) and Tyrone Truesdell (Augusta, Ga.) will officially visit Florida on Jan. 20. The Gators are projected to land Henderson and Truesdell.
On the final weekend before signing day (Jan. 27), the Gators will host 5-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon (Leesburg, Ga.), 4-star safety Tray Bishop (Dawson, Ga.), 4-star cornerback Brad Stewart (New Orleans) and 4-star offensive tackle T.J. Moore (Charlotte, N.C).
Three more targets plan to officially visit UF in January: 4-star wide receiver Henry Ruggs (Montgomery, Ala.), 4-star linebacker Rahyme Johnson (Los Angeles) and 4-star offensive tackles Tony Gray (Loganville, Ga.) and Kai-Leon Herbert (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), a Michigan commit.
Which commitments are solid?
Florida currently has 14 verbal commitments for the Class of 2017, and the majority of them are solid to the Gators. Their top-ranked pledge, 4-star defensive end Zachary Carter from Tampa, Fla., is being courted by Alabama and Oregon.
Carter plans to officially visit both schools next month in addition to Florida, but it appears he’s just looking to take advantage of some free trips. A few more commits want to visit other programs as well, but the Gators should not lose anyone from their class.
Which commitments are wavering?
The one recruit who could be cause for concern is 4-star cornerback Elijah Blades from Pasadena, Calif. He claims to be 100 percent committed to the Gators, but it’s worrisome any time Southern Cal is in the mix for a Golden State standout.
Blades plans to officially visit both UF and USC in January. Georgia and Nebraska are also pursuing him, and he’s already visited Utah. Florida is expected to keep Blades on board, but he’s definitely worth monitoring next month.
Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite.