Join us here at SEC Country for a daily recap of the latest Florida recruiting news, tales from the trail, and perspective on what it all means for the Gators.
Gators a finalist for CB Derek Stingley Jr.
For the third time in four years, the Gators are in contention for an elite cornerback from the state of Louisiana.
Florida came close to landing 5-star CB Kristian Fulton in the Class of 2016, but he chose LSU on National Signing Day. The Gators had luck the following year with 4-star CB Brad Stewart, who became just the second Louisiana recruit to sign with Florida since 2001.
Their latest target from the Pelican State is Derek Stingley Jr., a 5-star cornerback from Dunham School in Baton Rouge, La. Florida was one of six finalists Stingley named on Sunday, along with Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Stanford and Texas.
Florida is expected to receive one of his five official visits, but will need to wow him on that trip. Despite making the cut for Stingley, the Gators and others have ground to make up on the in-state Tigers.
He called LSU his top school last week in an interview with SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner.
“LSU is my leader,” Stingley said. “Everyone else still has a shot, though. If those schools keep working like they have, then we’ll see how things turn out, but right now, LSU leads.”
Perhaps that can change between now and National Signing Day, just as it did last year with 5-star cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr. He spurned LSU for Alabama after favoring the Tigers throughout the process.
The Gators have a huge need at cornerback in the 2019 class, so they can sell Stingley on early playing time. If Stewart emerges as a starter this season and has success, that also could make an impression on Stingley and help Florida’s chances with him.
He committed to LSU on the spot in June 2016, but reopened his recruitment last April after adding offers from Alabama, Florida and Florida State. Stingley is ranked the nation’s No. 2 cornerback and No. 19 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite.
Derick Hunter returning to Florida
One of Florida’s top in-state targets plans to return to campus this week.
The Gators begin spring football on Friday, and the first two practices are open to the public. Derick Hunter, a 4-star defensive end from Dunbar High School (Fort Myers, Fla.), plans to be in attendance Saturday.
I’ll definitely be in the swamp this weekend 🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊 #swampsquadxix
— Rambo hunter. jr (@hunterderick31) March 11, 2018
Hunter is a priority target for the Gators and attended their junior day event on Feb. 24. The 6-foot-4, 281-pound pass rusher has visited campus multiple times and feels at home in Gainesville.
The fact that he’s returning to Florida for his second visit in a month is a positive sign. However, Georgia leads for Hunter and he hasn’t even visited the school yet. He will make his first trip to Athens on March 20.
“I love Georgia,” Hunter told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell in late February. “I don’t even have any other top school. Georgia is No. 1. Georgia is No. 1. Period. Point blank. All the other schools are just there to be there. Georgia is No. 1.”
News & notes
- The Gators hosted 2020 quarterback TJ Finley (Ponchatoula, La.) on Monday. He spent time with quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson and toured campus with his 7-on-7 team. Finley doesn’t hold an offer from Florida yet, but has earned scholarships from schools such as Alabama, Auburn and LSU.
Had a great visit at The University of Florida 🐊💙 pic.twitter.com/TQuTqhVbTf
— TJ1️⃣ (@tj_finley1) March 12, 2018
- Another Baton Rouge recruit trimmed his list Monday. Bryton Constantin, a 3-star linebacker from University Lab School named Florida in his top 8 along with Auburn, Clemson, Houston, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and TCU. He received an offer from the Gators on Feb. 28.
Elite 8…🎒 pic.twitter.com/0xVAbt2lFy
— 🏴 Bryton Constantin (@Kxng_Bryton) March 12, 2018
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.