ORLANDO — Recruits had to brave the elements Monday during the second practice for the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game.
It was a cold, rainy day at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and the weather worsened over the course of practice.
Florida has five commits and several targets competing in Orlando this week. Here are the news and notes from Day 3:
- Florida DB signee Trey Dean was the top performer Monday among the future Gators. He has been the most physical cornerback in Orlando this week and his cover skills are elite. Dean had an interception and was aggressive in the secondary all day. He drove 5-star wide receiver Devon Williams out of bounds on one play and also got into a scuffle with top-100 WR Jalen Preston (see below). “They told me he was too big and strong, so I had to find out,” Dean said of the fight. “It’s a dog-eat-dog mentality and the bigger dog is going to win. That’s what I came here for.”
— CONNER (@CJ_Clarke1) January 1, 2018
- The weather created issues Monday for most of the quarterbacks, including Gators signee Emory Jones. He and others made some erratic throws and sailed a few balls as the rain and wind picked up in the afternoon. Jones did connect with Florida WR target Jacob Copeland for a 40-yard touchdown and had another potential TD-pass dropped by 4-star tight end Malcolm Epps.
- Nicholas Petit-Frere showed why 247Sports has him ranked as the nation’s No. 1 tackle and No. 5 overall recruit. After showing flashes of his mean streak in the opening practice, Petit-Frere took his game to another level Monday and was dominant in drills. He won back-to-back reps against top-100 defensive end Jordan Davis and tossed the Alabama signee to the ground.
- Alabama commit Quay Walker had another solid day at linebacker and made a nice stop on a screen play. After practice, Walker discussed his recruitment with SEC Country and revealed his official visit plans. The Gators will host Walker on Jan. 12 and they have a strong shot at flipping him. He is “unsure” about his pledge to the Crimson Tide and called Florida his dream school on Monday. Walker didn’t like Florida’s defense under former coordinator Randy Shannon, but said he’s a fan of Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme. “That’s my style of play,” he said. “I run it in high school, so it will be easy to pick up on.” Walker said the determining factor in his recruitment is finding a coach he can trust and talk to about anything, so he wants to spend time with Florida’s new defensive coordinator on his visit. “I text him and he seems pretty cool,” Walker said of Grantham. “I think I’ll understand him better when I get up there and talk to him more. That’s going to play a big role in it.”
- Dean wasn’t the only cornerback who impressed Monday. Top-50 overall recruit Olaijah Griffin also had a stellar performance, finishing with an interception and a few pass breakups. He received an offer from the Gators on Sunday night and said he will officially visit Florida on Feb. 2. Griffin spoke with new UF defensive backs coach Charlton Warren and said he was “shocked” by the offer. The former UCLA commit is from Mission Viejo, Calif., and has Southern California in his top 5. However, Griffin said proximity to home doesn’t matter to him and he’s willing to leave the West Coast for an SEC school. Tennessee currently leads for him and Auburn is also one of his finalists. “After going to Tennessee and seeing what it’s like out there, I was like, ‘Man, SEC is way different than California.’ I was feeling it.”