GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida hopes to land a couple more recruits for its 2016 class on National Signing Day.
UF currently has 26 commitments and the scholarship room for 28 signees. The Gators have landed multiple prospects at each position of need, but the potential additions Wednesday could strengthen some of those spots.
Here are the four biggest targets left on Florida’s recruiting board:
1) Tyrie Cleveland, four-star WR, Houston, Texas (Westfield)
Cleveland (6-3, 190) is currently committed to the hometown Cougars, but will make final decision out of Florida, Houston and TCU. The Gators have four wide receivers committed who are each rated four-star prospects by at least two recruiting services. While that makes for a talented haul at the position, it would be an elite group if Cleveland joins. Florida, his dream school growing up, is certainly a legitimate candidate to flip him. Cleveland wants to see the field as a freshman, which shouldn’t be a problem with the Gators. If his aunt and other family members support him leaving the state of Texas, he could be UF bound.
2) Kristian Fulton, five-star CB, Metairie, La. (Archbishop Rummel)
Fulton (6-0, 177) visited LSU, Arkansas and Florida in January, but his recruitment is a battle between the Gators and Tigers. UF only return four cornerbacks for 2016, but there’s five prospects committed at the position and potentially six with Fulton in the mix. Talk about reloading. Even with that much depth, Florida appeals to Fulton because of the departures of Vernon Hargreaves III and Brian Poole. Early playing time is his top priority. LSU took the lead for Fulton following his trip to Baton Rouge, but the Gators made a big impression on him and his parents over the weekend. He probably wouldn’t pick UF without their blessing.
3) John Simpson, four-star OL, North Charleston, S.C. (Fort Dorchester)
The Gators didn’t seem like a team in the running for Simpson (6-4, 290) during the fall, but Florida is now one of two finalists for him following his visit to Gainesville on Jan. 15. Clemson is other contender, and the in-state school has long been considered his favorite. UF bring backs 13 players and has three commits along the offensive line, so Simpson isn’t a huge need. But given his ability, the U.S. Army All-American could play his way into Florida’s rotation within his first two years. Simpson’s comfort level with the campus and coaches is important to him, and he liked the atmosphere at UF. But he’s also very familiar with Clemson.
4) Brian Burns, four-star DE, Plantation, Fla. (American Heritage)
Burns (6-5, 212) is down to Florida, Florida State and Georgia, the three schools he visited last month. UGA once had the edge for him, but it appears he’s down to UF and FSU. As is the case with the aforementioned targets, Burns is not a must-get for Florida at weakside defensive end with five-star Antonneous Clayton in the fold and four-star Jordan Smith already at UF as an early enrollee. But Burns has a strong relationship with Gators defensive line coach Chris Rumph and a few players on the team. One of Burns’ deciding factors is his role in a defensive scheme, and he likes the way Florida utilized Alex McCalister. FSU also uses its pass rushers in a similar fashion.
All player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.