GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Defensive tackle is one of Florida’s biggest needs in the Class of 2017, and a new target has emerged for the Gators.
Tedarrell “T.J.” Slaton, a 4-star recruit from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is ranked the nation’s No. 3 offensive guard and No. 65 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite.
But the UF coaching staff is pursuing the U.S. Army All-American as a defensive tackle, and that’s his preferred position.
“Florida is recruiting me for defense,” Slaton told SEC Country. “That’s kind of what I want to play in college, and that’s why Florida is my leader.”
Slaton’s primary recruiter is newly hired defensive coordinator Randy Shannon. The 6-foot-5, 350-pound prospect met with Shannon last month during the contact period.
“He’s a good dude,” Slaton said of Shannon. “I had an in-home visit and we talked about a lot of academic stuff. He’s really big on the classroom, and so am I. My mom wants me to do all four years.
“But his message to me is come in and work. Just do what I need to do and I’ll have an opportunity to get on the field.”
Slaton attends American Heritage High School with a pair of UF commits. Both of them have been recruiting him to the Gators since they pledged last summer.
“I got two guys already going there, Marco Wilson and James Houston,” Slaton said. “They’ve talked to me the whole season about joining them. So I’m comfortable with Florida.”
UF is scheduled to host Slaton on official visit Jan. 20. He’s also considering Baylor, Georgia, Kentucky and Ole Miss for potential visits this month.
4-star safety ready to commit
Devon Hunter has a new decision date.
The 4-star safety from Chesapeake, Va., was originally scheduled to commit on Christmas Eve, but postponed that announcement. Hunter now plans to reveal his college choice on Jan. 20.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ??‼ pic.twitter.com/K1q7GICUOe
— 7️⃣ Hunter (@devonhunter11) January 11, 2017
The U.S. Army All-American told SEC Country he was planning to visit Florida on Jan. 13, but admitted that Virginia Tech has the edge in his recruitment.
When asked Tuesday night if the UF trip will still happen, Hunter did not respond. He had visits set up to Auburn (Jan. 20) and Alabama (Jan. 27) as well.
3-star corner schedules Florida visit
A Peach State prospect plans to officially visit the Gators this weekend.
UF will host 3-star cornerback Eric Stokes from Covington, Ga. He is being recruited by Florida secondary coach Torrian Gray and attended Friday Night Lights on July 23.
Stokes is also scheduled to visit Georgia (Jan. 20) and Ole Miss (Jan. 27) this month. The Gators are looking to land at least three more defensive backs in their class.