Well my friends, we’ve almost reached the end of the road.
By this time next week, Florida’s 2016 class will be signed, sealed and delivered.
That is, of course, unless we experience another CeCe Jefferson saga. But National Signing Day should be be pretty uneventful for UF compared to last year, which is what happens when you secure 26 commits and a top-five class ahead of time.
I expect the Gators to add two or three more recruits Wednesday, four at the most.
If you’ll remember, Jim McElwain told me after the bowl game he would sign 28-30. UF currently has 28 scholarships available for 2016, excluding walk-ons.
But there’s a good likelihood that the Gators could have a couple transfers between now and the summer, or some signees not qualify for enrollment. With that being the case, I think McElwain would be OK to oversign by one or two spots, especially for a prospect such as Kristian Fulton.
The scholarship numbers would work themselves out by the time recruits reported to campus in July.
Here are the top five questions from this week:
Top two commits with highest probability of flipping away from the Gators?
As it stands now, I don’t see two commits whom Florida could lose to another school.
Despite his trip to Gainesville over the weekend, Alabama is hoping to get UF cornerback pledge Aaron Robinson up to Tuscaloosa for an unofficial visit Saturday. Even if he makes it, he still is more likely to sign with the Gators in my opinion.
They’ve been on him since the summer and recognized his talent months before Alabama, much like they did with Vosean Joseph. Florida is also working with him and being patient on his standardized test score, which will come shortly after signing day.
Both of those factors should go a long way with Robinson and his family. I expect all of UF’s commitments to stick.
Are we anywhere close to hiring a DB coach? If so, who? If not, will we lose out on Fulton because of that?
(From @Dallasb123, @CoBeingCo, @Bigburnetteski)
At this point, McElwain probably has a verbal agreement in place. However, it may not be able to come out until after signing day.
He told UF safety commit Jeawon Taylor the next secondary coach is going to be “one of the best in the country.” If I had to guess, I’d say it’s either Corey Raymond of LSU or FAU’s Corey Bell, who worked with Gators linebacker coach Randy Shannon at Miami.
Whoever it is, I have to believe Fulton will find out before his decision so he knows who would be coaching him at Florida. The larger issue with Fulton is getting his father on board with UF.
He’s a big LSU fan, but his son is very high on the Gators and willing to leave the state of Louisiana. This weekend’s trip is more about winning over the dad than Fulton himself.
Does UF’s pursuit of the graduate transfer offensive lineman say anything about the staff’s confidence in landing another HS lineman this cycle?
(From @dwm08e, @Cnapsing)
For those who missed it, UF will host former Rhode Island offensive tackle Tyler Catalina on an official visit this weekend.
He’s been offered by the Gators, but I don’t anticipate them accepting a commitment from him until the numbers shake out after signing day. Catalina isn’t transferring until May, so Florida will know if it has room before then.
In-state tackle Marcus Tatum, who picked Tennessee on Jan. 11, was UF’s best shot at landing a fourth prep prospect for the offensive line. Florida is one of two finalists for four-star guard John Simpson, but I view Clemson as a slight favorite for him.
The Gators will have 16 linemen next season with the three commits coming in, which is plenty of depth. But they will add one more player if possible, and it might be a junior college or grad transfer.
Percentages on remaining targets?
(From @parker_brown_, @Dupree4Three, @Kuji112, @Bigro94, @TCarterTan, @briwash4)
Florida has 12 options still remaining, but just as Joseph did this week, I’m going to separate the real possibilities from the fake.
Safety Chris Brown, offensive lineman Landon Dickerson and linebackers Dontavious Jackson, Jaleel Laguins and Dee Walker are five recruits who Gators fans don’t need to keep up with. They aren’t coming to UF.
Here are seven targets Florida has a legitimate chance with:
- Brian Burns, DE
- The skinny: Burns isn’t visiting Alabama this week, so it will come down to Florida, Florida State and Georgia for him. The Gators and Seminoles are neck-and-neck, but I think FSU will pull this one out in the end (barely).
- Prediction: Florida State
- Confidence level: 55%
- Tyrie Cleveland, WR
- The skinny: He’s currently committed to Houston, but that pledge probably won’t stick. After speaking with him Wednesday night and learning about his family situation (see update), I’m calling for the flip by Florida.
- Prediction: Florida
- Confidence level: 75%
- Nick Eubanks, TE
- The skinny: His recruitment will come down to Alabama and Florida. Some feel the Crimson Tide lead, but they have two tight ends in their class. I’m going with the Gators, who get the final visit.
- Prediction: Florida
- Confidence level: 70%
- Kristian Fulton, CB
- The skinny: I mentioned him above and his father being a potential road block for the Gators. I’ll be surprised if they’re able to get around this one.
- Prediction: LSU
- Confidence level: 60%
- Malcolm Pridgeon, OL (junior college)
- The skinny: It appeared to be a Baylor-Florida battle coming out of the fall, but Ohio State has entered the mix and will host him this weekend on a visit. His recruitment is a toss-up, but UF has been on him consistently.
- Prediction: Florida
- Confidence level: 50%
- John Simpson, OL
- The skinny: He’s a hard kid to read, but I do know it’s a close race between Clemson and Florida. Simpson had a great visit to UF, but he’s more familiar with Clemson and it’s closer to home.
- Prediction: Clemson
- Confidence level: 55%
- Lyndell Wilson, LB
- The skinny: The Gators couldn’t have done a better job recruiting Wilson. They landed his teammate and one of his close friends, got the last visit from him and have the most appealing depth chart at his position. But I don’t think Florida was ever his top school.
- Prediction: Alabama
- Confidence level: 80%
At the end of January, this is what it’s all about.
Here is my last mock class, but I’ll make my final predictions Tuesday night and on my Crystal Ball page.
I’ve mentioned before that UF cornerback commit Antonio Nelson has some work to do in the classroom, but he’s visiting Florida this weekend and it looks like he’ll sign with the Gators. His grades will be worth monitoring in the coming months.
I still have UF at 29 signees.
* — mid-year enrollee
QB Feleipe Franks*
QB Kyle Trask*
RB Mark Thompson*
RB Lamical Perine
WR Tyrie Cleveland
WR Joshua Hammond*
WR/ATH Dre Massey*
WR Freddie Swain*
WR Rick Wells
TE Nick Eubanks
OL Stone Forsythe*
OL Brett Heggie
OL Jawaan Taylor
OL Malcolm Pridgeon
DT Shavar Manuel
DE Antonneous Clayton
DE Jachai Polite
DE Jordan Smith*
LB Vosean Joseph
LB Jeremiah Moon
LB David Reese*
CB McArthur Burnett*
CB Chauncey Gardner*
CB C.J. McWilliams
CB Antonio Nelson
CB Aaron Robinson
S Quincy Lenton
S Jeawon Taylor
K Eddy Pineiro*