“Zach’s Mail Stack” is a weekly mailbag with SEC Country reporter Zach Abolverdi, who has covered Florida Gators recruiting since 2010. This week Abolverdi predicts which Gators commit will have the most immediate impact and gives his thoughts on Matt Corral.
Who do you think has most immediate impact in the ‘18 class for us?
— William (@BWeltlin_8) October 25, 2017
Abolverdi: I certainly expect Florida’s WR commits — particularly Jacob Copeland and Ja’Marr Chase — to make an impact, even if only in flashes and spurts. They’re just too talented to be on the bench.
Early enrollees always have a better chance to play as true freshmen and the Gators have a few incoming recruits who will benefit from the head start in spring practice.
The gem of this class is star quarterback Matt Corral, one of nine mid-year enrollees next semester. Florida’s QB position is still unsettled and lacking production, so Corral will get his opportunity to compete for the starting job.
I also expect Dameon Pierce to make some noise next year, but he will likely be the third or fourth option in the rotation and carries could be hard to come by. Ask Adarius Lemons.
The aformentioned offensive skill players may all see the field as freshmen, but will one of them be the signeee who has the most immediate impact? I don’t think so.
Safety is the No. 1 need for the Gators in the 2018 class, and they’ve addressed it with three commits who can play the position.
Under Armour All-American Amari Burney is an athlete and could play defensive back, linebacker and even some offense in college, while junior college transfer Deontai Williams is a versatile DB who could line up at a number of spots in the secondary.
There’s denying where Randy Russell will play. He’s a true safety and has one of the most impressive tapes in the country at a position of need for Florida. I expect him to push for playing time in the spring and catch on the way Marco Wilson has this season.
Russell is my prediction here.
Thoughts on QB Matt Corral
— Shyam Patel (@PatelShyam_) October 25, 2017
Abolverdi: Will Grier 2.0.
After watching Matt Corral this past summer at The Opening, I had the opportunity to see Florida’s QB commit again last Friday and he didn’t disappoint.
In just one half of play, half of Corral’s 10 completions went for touchdowns and he finished with 320 yards. His arm strength, field vision and foot work are his biggest strengths.
Corral does a great job of improvising when the pocket collapses and making big plays — through the air and on the ground. His skill set is eerily similar to Grier out of high school and Corral will be the most talented quarterback Florida has signed since him.
Other then who we have committed who is the most elite player we have a shot at ?
— Michael (@Sir_Michael91) October 25, 2017
Abolverdi: The Gators are in contention for a few top-100 recruits, including 5-star cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr., 4-star offensive lineman William Barnes and 4-star wide receiver Mark Pope, who is currently committed to Miami.
But 5-star offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere is the most elite player UF has a shot with. 247Sports has him ranked as the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 10 overall recruit, which would make him Florida’s highest-ranked signee if he joins the class.
National Signing Day is less than four months away, but Petit-Frere still has lot left to figure out in his recruitment. The Gators are considered one of his top teams, but Alabama, Notre Dame and Ohio State all have a chance to pull him out of Tampa, Fla.