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Gators coach Dan Mullen signed three South Florida recruits in his 2018 class.

Florida recruiting: New Gators staff pursuing South Florida prospects

Zach Abolverdi

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The previous coaching staff placed a huge emphasis on South Florida recruiting.

With former Miami coach Randy Shannon leading the charge, the Gators signed 10 prospects from South Florida in the 2017 class — the most in school history — and won some big recruiting battles against rival Miami.

That number won’t be duplicated again, but the talent-rich region is a priority for first-year coach Dan Mullen. He and his staff had success in South Florida during the 2018 recruiting cycle.

The Gators signed Miami safety Randy Russell, Boca Raton tight end Dante Lang and upset the Hurricanes for 4-star linebacker Andrew Chatfield, who attends American Heritage High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Chatfield’s teammate, top-100 defensive tackle Nesta Silvera, almost flipped from Florida to Miami, but decided to sign with Hurricanes in the 11th hour.

The Gators have a pair of South Florida pledges in their 2019 class — 4-star athlete Ja’markis Weston (Clewiston, Fla.) and 3-star tackle Wardrick Wilson (Miami) — and they’re in contention for a few more.

This spring, Florida has hosted 5-star wide receiver Frank Ladson (Homestead, Fla.), 4-star wide receiver John Dunmore (Hollywood, Fla.), 4-star defensive end Khris Bogle (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 4-star linebacker Ge’mon Eaford (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) and 4-star cornerbacks Jaden Davis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Kaiir Elam (North Palm Beach, Fla.) and Tyrique Stevenson (Miami).

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The Gators have a few more South Florida recruits planning to visit soon, including top-50 overall athletes Mark-Anthony Richards (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Josh Sanguinetti (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).

Despite Mullen and his staff members making noise in states such as in Alabama, California and Mississippi, the Sunshine State is their primary focus in recruiting and that includes South Florida.

“You look at the recipe of winning national championships when I was here before,” Mullen said earlier this spring. “You have the foundation of the team from Florida and you have some of the top national players from around the country. That’s going to be our same approach that we use.”