When a five-star defensive back hits the market, especially following a de-commitment from a high-profile SEC power, it figures he’ll have no shortage of suitors.
Such is the case for Derek Stingley, the No. 4 cornerback in the 2019 class by 247Sports. Stingley back off a pledge to LSU following the departure of Les Miles, this coming after the Tigers were the first program to offer Stingley. Since then, his commitment has taken off, but LSU has remained in the picture. Stingley recently named the final six programs under consideration, and it came as a slight surprise to some to see Florida among the group. Saturday’s spring game was Stingley’s second opportunity to see the program in person since picking up an offer from the Gators on Feb. 8, 2017, and he came away impressed.
“I really liked the visit. I got exactly what I was expecting to see, everything I wanted to see,” Stingley said. “It was a nice spring game, and there was no point during the day I was bored.”
Stingley said he talked to UF coach Dan Mullen, in addition to defensive backs coach Charlton Warren, and UF made it clear to Stingley that he would have an opportunity to earn early playing time upon arriving in Gainesville.
“They told me they have two really good corners who are probably going to go (first round) my freshman year, they’ll be juniors,” Stingley said. “And he was talking about me and Chester Kimbrough, who’s from the same area I’m from, that we can both come in and we can both be the two corners to play for them.”
Gainesville this weekend! Florida Spring Game!🐊🐊
— Derek Stingley Jr. (@JrStingley) April 12, 2018
Stingley’s father couldn’t make the trip to Gainesville, but Mullen made an effort to FaceTime the elder Stingley while Derek was on campus.
“He was just talking about how I would fit in, which is I’m a big corner so they can use me as a press guy, a guy that eliminates somebody,” Stingley said. “But then I could also be that guy that knows how to do zone coverages, because whenever you’re mainly pressing somebody, they see that you’re trying to eliminate them, that motion that you have to go through trips and we’ll get a bunch of stuff. So he said I would be perfect like that.”
And Stingley said Saturday’s visit will have a lasting effect on his recruitment, even with LSU still leading for his recruitment.
“It helps out their case really good, because this was like my first game,” Stingley said. “Getting to see all that, it bumped them up higher.”
He said he’ll narrow his recruitment down to just three schools by the end of July, but Stingley indicated he may back off previous intentions to commit before his senior season. He’ll next take an official visit to Texas on May 5, and an official visit to UF will likely follow.
“I’m probably going to do something here after that,” Stingley said, “And then I don’t know after that.
“I just like the environment. It was a spring game and it was still loud and rocking. So I’m just trying to imagine what it would be like for a full game, when they’ve got over 90,000 people here.”
— Derek Stingley Jr. (@JrStingley) March 11, 2018