GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida is back on the market for a defensive tackle following Jordon Scott’s departure from the 2017 class.
His commitment to UF in May (at 350 pounds) was contingent on him losing weight before he enrolled early. Instead, he has gained weight since then.
The Gators have a few options on their board to replace Scott. They want to sign a third defensive tackle, one of their biggest needs for next year, to go along with 4-star recruit Fred Hansard and junior college transfer Javier Edwards.
Their top target is Aubrey Solomon, a 4-star defensive tackle from Leesburg, Ga. Florida was his No. 1 school early in the process, but now it appears he will end up at Georgia or Michigan.
The name to watch for is Tyrone Truesdell, a 3-star defensive tackle from Augusta, Ga. He named the Gators his leader following his visit for the Kentucky game.
The 6-foot-3, 325-pound prospect will return to UF for an official visit, but he also has a trip scheduled to Louisville for Jan. 14. Ole Miss and South Carolina are in the mix as well.
On the Friday of Florida’s bye week, the coaches evaluated 3-star defensive tackles Alec Jackson (Montgomery, Ala.) and Kane Taylor (Clearwater, Fla.).
Jackson has several big-time offers, including Alabama, Auburn and Florida, and the Gators hope to get him on campus for a visit. Taylor needs to qualify before he can receive a UF offer, but the staff is monitoring his academic progress.
The Gators could also make another run at Florida State defensive tackle commits Ja’len Parks and Cory Durden from nearby Newberry, Fla., but they don’t seem to be options.
Projecting Florida’s 2017 class
Two notable names projected to join the class are 4-star wide receiver James Robinson (Lakeland, Fla.) and 4-star offensive tackle Navaughn Donaldson (Miami).
Robinson has been on Florida’s recruiting radar for more than a year and named the Gators his leader back in May. However, he needs to take care of some things off the field before he can join the class.
Florida’s top targets at the position, 5-star wide receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones (Detroit) and Jerry Jeudy (Deerfield Beach, Fla.), will be tough to land. Jeudy is firmly committed to Alabama despite his plans to visit UF, and Peoples-Jones appears to be a heavy lean to in-state Michigan.
Another option is Henry Ruggs, a 4-star wide receiver from Montgomery, Ala. The Gators are scheduled to host him on an unofficial visit for the South Carolina game, but Ruggs will be hard to pull out of the state of Alabama.
As for Donaldson, Florida will probably need a flip to land another elite offensive lineman for 2017. Five-star Auburn commit Calvin Ashley (Washington, D.C.) and 5-star Alabama commit Alex Leatherwood (Pensacola, Fla.) both plan to officially visit UF, but it seems unlikely either of them will make the switch.
SEC Country heard strong rumblings that Michigan 4-star offensive tackle commit Kai-Leon Herbert (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) might flip to the Gators after attending their season opener on Sept. 3. But he decided against it and is now solid with the Wolverines coming off his official visit to Ann Arbor on Oct. 22.
Donaldson, meanwhile, came to Gainesville for Friday Night Lights and plans to make a return trip. The UF coaches are aggressively pursuing the 4-star offensive tackle and he’s been receptive to their efforts despite his pledge to Miami. At this time, Donaldson is Florida’s best chance at a flip.
Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite.