It’s no secret that the first recruiting class in a head coach’s tenure at a program sets the baseline of expectations, and Dan Mullen is no exception. And as June winds down and the dead period settles in, Mullen and his coaching staff are entering a potentially cycle-defining window in July.
The Gators are in contention to land several high-profile targets over the next month — including three from The Golden State — from the 2019 class, with a verbally commitment from even one prospect being enough to boost Florida up the class rankings.
Here are five 2019 prospects whose commitments could shake out in Florida’s favor.
- Mycah Pittman, WR, 6-foot-0, 195 pounds — Pittman has seemingly narrowed his decision down to two programs — Oregon and UF. His social media accounts are wrought with content for both potential destinations, however, making Pittman a tough read. But the multiple cross-country visits on his own dime — with family in tow, nonetheless — puts the Mullen-led Gators in a strong position to land the four-star wide receiver prospect. Regardless of wherever he verbally commits, Pittman plans on taking an official visit to Florida on Oct. 6 to witness the Gators host LSU.
- Trey Sanders, RB, 6-foot-0, 215 pounds — Widely regarded as the top running back prospect in the 2019 class, Sanders has long held the Gators in high regard, and his family hasn’t shied away from sharing their favoritism towards UF. And with the addition of his older brother Umstead Sanders as a walk-on in the 2018 season, there’s a multitude of reasons the younger Sanders could spurn Alabama and Florida State and don the orange and blue. Furthermore, Sanders, who was previously committed to Alabama, might no longer consider the Crimson Tide as appealing of a destination following Wednesday’s commitment of four-star running back Keilan Robinson to the program.
- Chris Steele, DB, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds — Update – Steele committed to the University of Southern California on July 6. The rest of the article appears as it was originally published — The Bellflower, California, native has narrowed his decision to three schools — University of Southern California, University of South Carolina and Florida — with a decision just over a week away. Steele intends to verbally commit to a program on July 7, and despite what you may have seen on social media, a source close to Steele confirms he remains torn on a decision. After previously telling The Sun he would push his commitment back if he remains even the slightest bit apprehensive, there’s been no indication he’s pushing a decision back. Steele has even gone as far as shooting multiple endings to his commitment video as he continues wrestling with his decision, the source confirms. UF remains in contention, but all Mullen and the Gators can do now is wait and see if the work in Spring will pay dividends.
- Elijah Higgins, WR, 6-foot-2, 225 pounds — Like Pittman, Higgins is considered one of the elite pass-catching prospects in the 2019 cycle. While he’s been seen recently rocking Florida gear to various camps, Higgins has yet to name a leader or give any indication as to where he’s leaning. A source close to Higgins tells me a potential commitment to Stanford is mainly contingent upon his acceptance to the university, but the Gators remain in a prime position regardless to land a verbal commitment in the coming weeks from the four-star wide receiver prospect out of Austin, Texas.
- Ethan Rae, TE, 6-foot-4, 240 pounds — Update: Rae committed to the University of Southern California on July 12. The rest of the article appears as it was originally published. — Florida’s tight end board has taken several twists and turns throughout the cycle, and it now appears Anaheim, California, native Ethan Rae is the odds-on favorite to join UF’s 2019 class. Rae took an official visit June 15 to Florida and visited Colorado a week later, and plans on making a verbal commitment before his senior season commences. Florida added JUCO tight end Lucas Krull in the 2018 class and have two seniors competing for minutes on the roster this season, making the position an area to address moving forward. A commitment from Rae would continue strengthening the prestige of UF’s 2019 class.