BEAVERTON, Ore. — SEC Country spoke with a handful of Florida’s defensive back targets Saturday at The Opening, Nike’s annual summer football camp for elite prospects.
Unlike A.J. Terrell, who postponed his September decision date, Marco Wilson plans to commit in the near future.
“I’ll definitely be making one soon, most likely before my season starts,” Wilson said. “I have an idea of where I’m going, but I’m not completely sure yet.
“I just need to think it over. I want the school I pick to help me get to the NFL, which is where I want to be.”
The 4-star cornerback from American Heritage High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) will release five finalists soon.
“It’s Florida, Miami and the other ones will be a surprise,” said Wilson, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds at The Opening.
The Gators are believed to be the favorite for Wilson, who is the younger brother of Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson. He’s one of the 2017 recruits being personally recruited by UF coach Jim McElwain.
“I love Florida,” he said. “I have a really strong relationship with the coaches. They talk to me almost every day. I love that about them. I see what they’re doing over there.
“Their first season last year with Coach McElwain, they handled business. He knows what he’s doing, and we talk every week. I’m real comfortable with him.”
Wilson is ranked the nation’s No. 25 cornerback and No. 217 overall prospect.
Gators must win over Wade’s parents
A key moment is approaching for the Gators in their recruitment of 5-star cornerback Shaun Wade.
The Ohio State commit from Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.) plans to visit UF in August with both of his parents. The trip needs to go well for Florida to have a chance at flipping Wade.
“It’s really for my parents, to be honest,” Wade said. “I’ve been to Florida plenty of times. My mom and dad want to see what type of people the coaches are. Just how they act and how they treat them. Education is also big for my parents.”
Wade, the nation’s No. 2 cornerback and No. 13 overall prospect, said his parents have no preference on where he attends college.
“They don’t really care what school I go to,” Wade said. “Florida is only an hour away, so that helps a little bit with them. But they’re letting me make my own decision.”
UF is selling Wade on being Jalen Tabor’s replacement in the starting lineup. Though the upcoming trip to Florida is for his parents, Wade looks forward to spending time with Gators secondary coach Torrian Gray.
“He’s a cool guy, man,” Wade said. “I just want be around him and talk about things. He’s going to sit you down and teach you everything you need to know. When he was at Virginia Tech he was recruiting me, so I’ve known him for a while.”
Florida a sleeper in Hunter’s recruitment
Devon Hunter, the nation’s No. 4 safety and No. 58 overall prospect, announced his top 11 school last month.
On Saturday, he said Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Virginia Tech will make the final cut. Alabama is the only school he knows he’ll officially visit, and the in-state Hokies are considered his leader.
But the Gators may be a team to watch out for.
“People sleep on me going to Florida,” Hunter said. “I can actually see myself playing there. I really like the Gators. I’m very tight with Coach Gray and (quality control) coach (Mark) DeBastiani. I can talk to them about anything.”
Hunter visited UF during spring football, the second trip he’s made to Gainesville in his recruitment.
“Getting to see them practice was great,” Hunter said. “They really compete. Jalen Tabor looked good. I built a greater bond with the coaching staff and just got to know them even more.
“It’s like a family there. They made me feel at home. I liked the environment there and the campus life.”
Hunter isn’t sure if he’ll officially visit Florida in the fall, but said another trip isn’t necessarily needed.
“I feel like they’re a good enough school where I don’t have to go back,” Hunter said. “I’m already very comfortable with them and I know a lot about the school.”
Henderson has five official visits in mind
Miami cornerback Chris Henderson, a Hurricanes commitment, has several schools he plans to visit in the coming months.
The 3-star prospect is taking trips to Alabama and Auburn next week. He’ll then use all five of his official visits in the fall.
“I’m going to Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Southern Cal and West Virginia,” said Henderson, who is ranked the nation’s No. 14 athlete.
He won’t need to use an official to see his hometown Hurricanes. Henderson said he’s “85-90 percent” committed to Miami.
Among his other schools of interest, the Gators have the best shot at flipping him.
“They’re my No. 2, only because I’m committed to UM,” Henderson said. “Florida is recruiting me hard and talking to me almost every night. Coach Randy Shannon just tells me Florida is the place to be.”
Gibbs set to make return trip to Florida
Florida’s Friday Night Lights will draw the nation’s No. 4 cornerback to Gainesville.
DeAngelo Gibbs from Grayson High School (Loganville, Ga.) is visiting the Gators on July 22 for their premier recruiting event.
“I just want to talk to some of the players, talk to some of the coaches and just see how I feel in that atmosphere,” Gibbs said. “Am I able to fit in their system and can I play to their style?”
Gibbs, the No. 34 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, likes the fact that UF has early playing time available in its secondary.
“I have a great opportunity to come in right away and play,” he said. “That’s why I like Florida a lot.”
Unless otherwise indicated, rankings and ratings come from the 247Sports Composite.
Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.