Reflecting on National Signing Day and key moments for Florida Gators
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Gators move up to No. 14 in recruiting rankings
Coach Dan Mullen said he doesn’t get caught up in the recruiting rankings one way or the other, knowing that the true judgment of a signing class will come down the road based on how those players perform on the field.
But all things considered, it was a strong debut for Mullen as he mostly wrapped up his first recruiting class as Florida’s coach.
The Gators added six signees Wednesday on National Signing Day to go with the 12 early signees from December and the two high-profile wide receiver transfers. There’s still a chance Florida could land top JUCO defensive end Dorian Gerald when he makes his announcement Friday, but for now the Gators check in at No. 14 on the 247Sports composite team recruiting rankings.
That’s encouraging considering Mullen had a little more than two months to build this class and work to retain some of the players already committed when he was hired in late November, all while assembling a coaching staff.
As for the latest additions, here’s a rundown of what happened (and what didn’t happen) for the Gators on National Signing Day:
- SEC County’s Zach Abolverdi grades the Gators’ 2018 signing class.
- Mullen reflected on how he and his staff approached this recruiting class, what he feels best about and his thoughts on the newest Gators.
- Here’s a thorough rundown of the highlights from Mullen’s news conference Wednesday.
- Here’s a detailed look at where the Gators’ recruiting class ranks nationally and within the SEC.
- The moment of the day for Florida fans was watching highly coveted 4-star WR Jacob Copeland choose the Gators over Alabama and Tennessee. His decision also garnered national attention for his mother’s reaction to his decision, which Copeland later made light of in a tweet.
- Here’s a column on the significance of the Gators landing Copeland.
- Mullen discussed the process of building a relationship with Copeland and the stress he saw the WR dealing with as he approached his final decision.
- Richard Gouraige, a 4-star offensive tackle and top 100 national recruit, stuck with his commitment to Florida, choosing the Gators over Clemson.
- Malik Langham, a 4-star defensive end, chose Florida over Alabama.
- Andrew Chatfield, a 4-star outside linebacker, gave the Florida defense a boost with his decision to sign with the Gators.
- The Gators also added 4-star WR/athlete Justin Watkins (another top 100 recruit) and 3-star offensive lineman Griffin McDowell, who were previously committed to the Gators and signed without suspense Wednesday.
- Noah Boykin, a 4-star cornerback whom many felt the Gators had a good chance to sign, chose Notre Dame instead. The Gators also lost out on 5-star offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, who signed with Ohio State.
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In basketball news …
- Florida snapped its three-game SEC losing streak with a well-played 73-64 win over LSU on Wednesday night. The Gators (16-8 overall, 7-4 SEC) showed renewed grit down the stretch after losing a 12-point second-half lead. The performance prompted a very pleased coach Mike White to say, “I don’t understand why we can’t do that every single night. I don’t know why we can’t do that at 2:30 when we’re in practice. It’s something this team battles.” Read more comments from White and guard Jalen Hudson here.
- The Florida women’s basketball team (10-13 overall, 2-8 SEC) faces a daunting task Thursday when it hosts unbeaten No. 2 Mississippi State (24-0) at 7 p.m. inside Exactech Arena at the O’Connell Center.
Around campus …
- College Baseball Daily wrote about Florida junior right-hander Jackson Kowar, who it ranks No. 8 on its top 100 preseason countdown.
- Florida’s Stanley Wu was named the SEC Swimmer of the Week after recording two first-place finishes (100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke) against a strong field at the Auburn Invitational last weekend. He also finished third in the 200 IM.
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What they’re saying on Twitter
- Copeland delivered one of the indelible images of National Signing Day:
Never thought I’ll live to see this moment. Everything I’ve been through in life came back to me at this moment. I’m truly blessed because God makes no mistakes. I just can’t thank him enough for what he has done for me over the 18 years of my life. 🙏🏾❤️ #GoGators #TearsOfJoy pic.twitter.com/voY9SFpzG8
— Jacob Copeland 🇭🇹 (@JCope1era) February 8, 2018
- Mullen and staff watching Copeland make his announcement:
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) February 7, 2018
- Former Florida football player James Bates commiserated with the tough decision Copeland made, which seemed to go against the preference of his mother:
— James Bates (@jb8sy) February 8, 2018
- Mullen showed off his Jordan’s of choice for National Signing Day:
Dan Mullen’s shoe game today pic.twitter.com/d4mYAmJzzn
— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) February 7, 2018
- In a more under-the-radar move, 2-star dual-threat QB Jaylin Jackson, from Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, joined the Gators as a preferred walk-on:
— Rodney Page (@RodneyHomeTeam) February 7, 2018
- Florida point guard Chris Chiozza, the inspiration for the promotional “Cheez Night” at the O’Dome, donning the headwear passed out to students for the game:
— Chris Harry (@GatorsChris) February 8, 2018
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