GAINESVILLE, Fla. — National Signing Day is three months away, so recruiting will be heating up soon for the Florida Gators.
Their 2017 class has experienced some movement in the last two weeks, and there’s currently 15 prospects on the commitment list. Florida’s biggest needs in this recruiting cycle are cornerback, defensive tackle, tight end and linebacker.
Graduating seniors will leave UF with 18 available scholarships after this season, but four juniors are expected to turn pro: linebacker Alex Anzalone, defensive tackle Caleb Brantley and cornerbacks Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson.
The Gators could also have some players transfer, such as running back Jordan Cronkrite. They should be able to sign at least 23 recruits, and potentially a full class of 25.
Below is an early projection of those final eight spots. It can’t be stressed enough that this is an idea of what Florida’s class could look like. Recruiting is very fluid and things can change from week to week, especially near the end of the cycle.
For example, the Gators were seemingly out of it for wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland following his commitment to Houston on Dec. 10. He ended up flipping on the 2016 signing day and becoming Florida’s top signee following a late official visit to UF.
* indicates current commit
** indicates commit who will enroll early
* 4-star quarterback Jake Allen (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
- Allen is rock solid with the Gators and will compete for his second straight Class 7A state championship next month.
Running back (1)
* 3-star running back Malik Davis (Tampa, Fla.)
- Davis, Hillsborough County’s all-time leader rusher, committed to Florida last week. If Cronkrite transfers, look for UF to add 3-star running back Bentavious Thompson from Miami to the class.
Wide receiver (2)
* 4-star wide receiver Daquon Green (Tampa, Fla.)
4-star wide receiver James Robinson (Lakeland, Fla.)
- Green is Florida’s lone All-American commit. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs are the Gators’ other targets at the position, but Robinson will likely be the receiver they land.
Tight end (2)
** 4-star tight end Kemore Gamble (Miami)
* 3-star tight end Zech Bryd (Millbrook, Ala.)
- UF coach Jim McElwain did not sign any tight ends in his first two classes, so he needs a couple for 2017. Gamble is the No. 1 tight end in the state of Florida, and Byrd committed to the Gators over Alabama.
Offensive line (2)
4-star offensive tackle Navaughn Donaldson (Miami)
** 4-star offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort (Miami)
- UF may end up with three linemen, but two would do. The Gators return all 15 players at the position next year. They’ll likely need a flip to sign a second lineman, and Donaldson is wavering on his Miami pledge.
Defensive line (5)
* 4-star defensive end Zachary Carter (Tampa, Fla.)
* 4-star defensive tackle Fred Hansard (Princeton, N.J.)
** 3-star junior college defensive tackle Javier Edwards (Houston)
3-star defensive tackle Tyrone Truesdell (Augusta, Ga.)
3-star defensive end Jordan Wright (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
- This is the second-biggest need for the Gators, and they’ll address it with both quantity and quality. UF leads for Truesdell and the recently offered Wright, who also holds offers from Alabama, Florida State, Miami and Michigan.
4-star linebacker Rahyme Johnson (Los Angeles)
* 3-star James Houston (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
* 3-star Ventrell Miller (Lakeland, Fla.)
- Florida loses its three starters, so replacing those numbers will be key. The Gators are pursuing 4-star linebackers Anthony Hines and Levi Jones from Texas, but Johnson has heavy interest in UF and plans to visit on Nov. 12.
Defensive back (5)
* 4-star cornerback Elijah Blades (Pasadena, Calif.)
** 3-star cornerback Shawn Davis (Miami)
* 4-star cornerback Marco Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
4-star cornerback C.J. Henderson (Miami)
4-star cornerback Brad Stewart (New Orleans)
- This is the No. 1 priority for the Gators and they’re on track to fill it nicely. Henderson and Stewart will take their official visits, but right now it’s hard to see another school topping Florida for either one of them.
4-star athlete Tray Bishop
** 3-star athlete Kadarius Toney
- These two could play either side of the ball in college. Bishop is committed to Auburn as a quarterback, but he’s very intrigued about playing safety at UF and will visit the Gators before making a final decision.
Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite.