Join us here on 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.
With the dead period now in effect, SEC Country is counting down the top five recruiting targets for Florida in the Class of 2018.
No. 2 is Patrick Surtain Jr., a 5-star cornerback from American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla.
Recruiting importance of Patrick Surtain Jr.
Florida had six defensive backs in its 2017 class, but only two of those signees (C.J. Henderson and Marco Wilson) played cornerback last season. The other returning players — McArthur Burnett and Christopher McWilliams — haven’t contributed. So there’s a huge void at cornerback — both in numbers and talent — with the departure of seniors Duke Dawson and Joseph Putu. The Gators don’t have any corners committed right now, and they need to land an elite player at the position.
Biggest competition for Patrick Surtain Jr.
LSU has been the longtime leader for Surtain because of his ties to Louisiana and the Tigers’ success with defensive backs. Florida seemingly made a big move for Surtain when he visited for the Tennessee game on Sept. 16. He told SEC Country afterward that it was an “evened-out race” between the Gators and Tigers. Surtain also said that he planned to return to Gainesville for the LSU game and an official visit after the season. The former did not happen, and the Tigers regained their edge for Surtain this fall.
Signing day projection for Patrick Surtain Jr.
In addition to Florida and LSU, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State are the schools still being considered by Surtain. He still has all five official visits remaining and plans to take trips in January. Florida is expected to receive a visit from Surtain, and he will get red-carpet treatment from Dan Mullen and his staff. The Gators can offer Surtain proximity to home, early playing time and their own “DBU” track record. Perhaps another trip to Florida will shake up his recruitment again, but Surtain is LSU bound barring a major recruiting upset.
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.