GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With a pair of senior tight ends on the roster, the position is a big priority for Florida in the Class of 2019.
Chicago’s Jahleel Billingsley could soon address those needs.
The 4-star tight end from Phillips Academy attended the inaugural Great Gator Grill-Out on Saturday, which his first time visiting Florida. He named the Gators his top team following the trip.
“Florida is definitely the leader,” Billingsley told SEC Country. “Just [based on] their pitch about developing me as a person, not just football. … I’m here and I can get the best of both worlds as far as academics and football. As far as their pitch from a football standpoint, I can come in and make an impact as a freshman. That’s what I want to do.”
Billingsley is ranked the nation’s No. 10 tight end and No. 282 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite. He plans to make his decision before his senior season, but admits that he thought about pulling the trigger while in Gainesville.
“I definitely did, almost,” Billingsley said. “When I was in that room talking to Coach [Dan] Mullen, it was definitely running through my head. I wanted to tell him I wanted to commit. I just wanted to weigh my options and see other schools.”
The 6-foot-4, 216-pound pass catcher has an upcoming unofficial visit to LSU and plans to take official visits to Florida and TCU. Some of his other offers include Auburn, Illinois, Ohio State and Michigan.
Billingsley said Florida is the best school he has visited thus far. He developed a rapport this weekend with tight ends coach Larry Scott and the rest of the coaching staff.
“We’re building a great relationship. He’s a great guy,” Billingsley said of Scott. “Everybody on the staff are great people, I mean, from him to Coach Mullen to Coach [Cordell] Landers. Everybody just brings a good vibe. It’s a great thing they got going here.
“Florida is a nice place. I liked it a lot … just the way I feel about the people on campus. It’s a great opportunity to come from Chicago to Florida and be able to play college football at the highest level that there is — SEC. Who wouldn’t want to come play?”
The Gators plan to sign a pair of tight ends in this class to replace their two seniors, but that doesn’t bother Billingsley whatsoever.
“They can take as many tight ends as they want,” he said. “I know if I come here, I’m going to play.”