As Jim McElwain tries to rebuild Florida football into a championship program, one of his mottos is “recruit daily or die.” 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.
Friday Night Lights preview
For the third year in a row, Friday Night Lights will be a success for Florida coach Jim McElwain and his staff.
The Gators should have another huge turnout for their annual recruiting showcase, which started in 2005 and continues to be one of the most popular college camps in the country.
UF is scheduled to host at least one top-200 overall prospect at every position. Here’s a preview of the expected visitors for Friday Night Lights. As always, this list is subject to change.
Quarterback: Matt Corral, Long Beach, Calif.
Matt Corral will be the big name on campus this week. The 5-star quarterback arrives at Florida on Thursday for Coach McElwain’s Next Level QB camp and will spend the night in Gainesville. Corral then visits Georgia on July 26 and plans to decide, likely between UF and UGA, before the start of his senior season.
Running back: Dameon Pierce, Bainbridge, Ga.
Pierce is one of Florida’s top targets at the position. He visited UF on March 18 and de-committed from Alabama two months later. With the in-state Bulldogs landing 5-star RB Zamir White and trending for former Florida State pledge James Cook, the Gators could become the team to beat for Pierce with a good trip.
Gators running back Iverson Clement and West Virginia commit Leddie Brown will also visit Friday.
Receivers: Jacob Copeland, Pensacola, Fla.; Ja’Marr Chase, Metairie, La.
Florida is considered the favorite for Copeland, but Alabama and Auburn are both in contention. Copeland plans to make his commitment at the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game. Chase was scheduled to choose between LSU and TCU on live TV at The Opening, but the NFL Network ran out of time. Chase has since decided to push back his announcement.
Miami 3-star WR Tyquon Thorton will also attend FNL along with 2019 Florida commits Josh Dunmore (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Maurice Goolsby (Dunnellon, Fla.).
The Gators will meet their tight end needs for the 2018 class if 4-star prospect Kyle Pitts commits Thursday. FNL will attract Keon Zipperer, a 2019 recruit who is ranked the nation’s No. 5 tight end and No. 71 overall recruit by 247Sports.
Offensive line: William Barnes, Apoka, Fla.
Barnes chose to visit the Gators this Friday instead of attending Alabama’s Champions Cookout. Florida and North Carolina are the co-leaders for Barnes, who plans to commit on National Signing Day. His teammate, 3-star offensive guard Ed Montilus, will also be on hand Friday along with 2019 UF commit Andrew Coker (Katy, Texas).
Defensive line: Coynis Miller, Birmingham, Ala.; Azeez Ojulari, Marietta, Ga.
Miller and Ojulari appear to be learning toward their in-state SEC programs, but neither has visited Florida before. The Gators need to impress them on the visit because both could make their decisions by the end of the summer. UF will also host 2019 DL commit Jaquaze Sorrells (Largo, Fla.).
Linebacker: Channing Tindall, Columbia, S.C.
South Carolina holds the edge for Tindall, but he’s not a lock for in-state Gamebacks. He visits Florida and FSU this weekend after checking out UGA on July 15. Friday Night Lights will be Tindall’s second trip to UF and wants to decide in mid-September. Another linebacker target, 3-star recruit David Reese (Fort Pierce, Fla.), is scheduled to arrive in Gainesville after Friday Night Lights.
Defensive back: Amari Burney, Clearwater, Fla., Gilbert Frierson, Miami (Miami commit)
Burney is the highest-rated recruit in Florida’s 2018 class and was the lone Gators commit to compete in The Opening at the time of the camp. Frierson has been committed to Miami for more than a year, but the 4-star cornerback continues to communicate with UF coaches. Two more defensive backs from Miami, Gators commit Divaad Wilson and safety target Randy Russell, will be at Friday Night Lights as well as 2019 Florida commits Jaleel McRae (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.), Tyrique Stevenson (Homestead, Fla.) and Trent Whittemore (Gainesville, Fla.).
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.