Gators gain pledge from four-star wide receiver

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(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Florida’s 2019 class picked up a commitment Thursday night on national television from a four-star wide receiver.

Arjei Henderson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound wide receiver out of Fort Bend Travis High in Richmond, Texas, committed to the Gators over Florida State during the Under Armour All-American game in Orlando. With Henderson’s commitment, the Gators have landed their highest-ranked prospect in ESPN’s rankings.

Henderson’s decision surprised many recruiting analysts and rival head coaches, too. The Seminoles appeared set to land Henderson, ranked the No. 22 wide receiver prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings, before the Gators made a last-minute push. He had previously made verbal commitments to Oklahoma and Oregon.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” Henderson said of his recruiting process during an ESPN interview. “This is the finish line. It’s the most special to me.”

The Gators are now up to 22 prospects in the 2019 class, with all but Henderson and five-star linebacker Diwun Black signing in the early signing period last month.

62 COMMENTS

  1. I’m beginning to see a really good theme developing with incoming Gator recruits. Henderson is the second one now quoted saying that the promise of “hard work” was a motivator in committing to CDM. Check it out:

    “They preach the young talent they have around there,” Henderson said of Florida’s message to him. “They have hard working guys that come to work everyday and they say they need some more of those guys around there.”

    Success in any worthy endeavor begins with much HARD WORK. The future is finally bright at UF!

    Go Gators!!!

    • I think this staff has done a good job of focusing on those prospects who are workers. I hope their projections are right. You are right that this does seem to be a common theme echoed by our recruits. I also think Florida has been the most honest with these guys. Many of them have commented on how our coaches are “real” and honest, not promising anything. Kirby, I think , has done the opposite. Unfortunately, guys like Fields found out too late it was a lot of BS .

      • I agree with you. One has to wonder how a guy as talented as Fields could sign up with Georgia KNOWING that Fromm had just completed a season in which he LED the Dawgs to an SEC championship and within one play of a NC… as a TRUE FRESHMAN!!!

        I guess Kirby CAN sell ice cubes to eskimos and sand to Arabs!!!

        • Well even ice melts and sand can turn to mud. It works in the short run , especially when the present recruiting cycle shows a lot of talent in Georgia. But a day of reckoning always comes to those who choose a less respectful path. Eason didn’t last long, but he had some other issues as well. Fields must have been told he would be in an open competition at QB. He wasn’t and shouldn’t have been. Fromm is a stud, let’s face it. Fields ain’t better. But Smart tried to have his cake and eat it too. He should have red-shirted him. When he didn’t, it made Mullen look smarter and Smart look…well..not smart. To make matters worse, he threw Fields under the bus with the debacle of a fake punt attempt against Bama. That right there showed the extent of his Urbaness ,err, dishonesty. He should have manned up and taken the blame for the dumbest call in NCAA history. Instead, he blamed his freshman QB who was put in the worse situation imaginable. I don’t know if the kid will really transfer but he has better reasons than many others.

          • #1, MKF — I hope this young fellow follows thru, as this is his 4th “commitment”. I think he will, but I’ll feel a lot better when he actually signs on the dotted line.

            #2 — I have a suspicion, and have had it for quite a while now, that something is not quite right up in Athens. It may be a house of cards that’s getting ready to fall — I don’t know and am not going on anything firm — but I do wonder if NCAA sanctions might be coming down the road.

            Go Gators!

          • I hope you’re right. In my experience, most people believe what they “want” to believe, regardless of what reality shows them, or what experienced facts are.

            Fields and his daddy are from Georgia and must have “wanted” him to play for the Dawgs most of their lives, regardless of the Fromm reality and experience in that locker room, right there in front of them. Kirby just told them both what they “wanted” to hear.

            Now, the kid has to decide whether to ride the bench another year at UGA and pray that Fromm doesn’t pull a Tebow after next season, or ride the bench at another school that gives him a realistic opportunity to start in 2020.

          • “I don’t know and am not going on anything firm.” — Gator-6.

            Then why post about something you have no clue or facts about then? But you could have posted, “I hope Georgia committed violations and gets NCAA sanctions”….which seems to be your desire. I prefer that to not happen and Florida just compete with Georgia on and off the football field. The SEC East needs a clean and prosperous Florida and Georgia rivalry and both Florida and Georgia finishing in the top ten every single year (but with Florida ranked higher than Georgia in the future).

          • Not sure about sanctions, but one thing’s for sure, recruits are going to start taking notice of Smart’s shortcomings as a head coach. His poor coaching has been bailed out by having better talent than most of the teams in the SEC. Once teams like UT and UF start accumulating better talent, then coaching is going to come into play. As soon as Mullen has the depth to compete and the players he needs for his system, then he’s going to start coaching circles around him. Recruits are jumping on the hype train right now, but another year of stupid decision making in big games and another year of improvements from the Gators and that hype train is going to come to a halt.

          • StLGator. With Fields, based on what I have read, it is more about him realizing that he does not fit well in the pro-style offense that Georgia runs. It is not about much of anything else and is one of the reasons he is likely headed to a team like Oklahoma where he will fit much better as a pure and talented duel-threat QB. Clearly, Fields made a huge mistake by not flipped to Florida at the end of last year’s recruiting cycle. I think Fields would be at Florida right now if Mullen had been hired a year earlier, or Mullen was hired at the time Florida hired McElwain.

          • Joe. Smart and Georgia has benefited the last few years by the state of Georgia having an abundance of 4 and 5 star rated talent. That state has had more higher ranked talent than Florida the last three years and Smart and Georgia have taken advantage of that new reality in recruiting. And the fact that much of the top Florida recruits leaving the state for Bama, Ohio State, and Clemson. Hopefully, both trends will reverse themselves in the coming years.

          • slow down swampy. georgia is a nightmare for the sec, no one likes them. no one. the sec needs tennessee back, not georgia and their conduct over the years. when a secondtier program leaps due to recruiting, like georgia did, or mississippi under hugh frieze, its like wondering if a mid tier athlete used steroids when they break world records. now smart is honest until proven otherwise, but anything involving georgia is fair to mention when it wouldnt be other places.
            i hope this kid is a good fit, committing to 4 schools reduces the excitement level, but at a minimum it increases the talent and we will have attrition anyway.

          • Swampy – Please let yours and Gator-6’s differences go. It’s his writing style and personality. No need for personal attacks. But feel free to disagree with his personal opinions.

          • “Then why post about something you have no clue or facts about then? But you could have posted,………………………”

            First, happy New Year to you too
            Second, sorry to see you are still one snarky puppy, the 6 fan club was hoping you would start the new year on a happier note, but you still have time, there is still some hope for you, keep trying we are all rooting for you.

          • Thanks Sly and CO. That little issue is why I stopped posting on here a few weeks ago. I just can’t take anymore of that inter-personal junk. I love most of the posts of Gator-6 and Swampy but if this civil war comes back….I’m outta here for good. And that would make me sad because I love reading and posting here with everyone.

          • Boy, I was gone all morning running errands and I’m quite surprised that I created such a firestorm. As a matter of fact, I don’t want to see any SEC team have sanctions imposed upon them, and that of course includes Georgia — I didn’t say that since I wasn’t looking over my shoulder at the time I wrote it, since I wasn’t expecting a drive by. That is to say, I didn’t know it would be so controversial so as to offend anyone’s sensibilities. Don’t know how we get from A to B in the context of my interpreted desire, but to each his own I suppose.

            I guess the line producing the most angst was, “I don’t know and I’m not going on anythings firm”? It shouldn’t have made anyone anxious or angry, inasmuch as I was merely reaffirming my uncertainty, since that’s what a “suspicion” is.

            Haven’t we traveled down this road before? Seems like a one way street to me.

          • For Rog, Sly, CO and others, thanks for taking the high road here. I enjoy reading and conversing with our friend “6” and his fun personality helps liven up this site. I also have a lot of respect for Swampy/Tampa’s insights, details and well researched facts. For the most part , those of us who take time to read and post on this site are true Gators fans who probably, like myself, have a lot of free time on our hands. Real life is challenging enough without dragging a non essential fun activity into it. Let’s leave the snarkiness to ESPN and Steven A. Smith. Let’s go Gators!!

          • Hey Rog don’t let what others say or do prevent you from contributing to this very good Gator forum. I agree with you that 6 is a very good contributor to this site. Anyone who is unbiased will clearly see the “problem” is not 6 but the other party who attacks and/or gets offended out of the blue.
            Keep posting and contributing with your fellow Gators on this site bud.

          • Now on a “serious” note, darned it 6 why you go out and start all this trouble? As the appointed president of your fan club I must insist you go to your room, turn off all your devices and refrain from posting here for two hours. When you come back online try to be nicer and less confrontational.
            Go Gators!
            Oh, and have a nice day

          • I will continue to post anything and to anyone I prefer. If you do not like what I post, don’t read or respond to it. But Kirby Smart is a really good person and a very honest and hard-working person. He just coaches for the hated Georgia Bulldogs. But there is absolutely no reason for anyone to post anything that states or insinuates that Smart is anything other than that unless that person has information or facts to back up that post. Simple as that. And I would post back the same to anyone that posted what 6 posted and not just to him. And I will tell everyone this. I have NEVER personally insulted or challenged the personal character of 6. He has often and repeatedly done that when responded to me. And my above post was not intended as a personal attack on him. I simply stated that such a post should be based on data that supports it. There is none. The content of his post is not something you joke about in my opinion, and especially when the man you are aiming at is a man of very high character and work ethic. He just coaches for the wrong school. So, live with that or just don’t read what I post. Simple as that.

          • Thanks CO and DanF! I appreciate the encouragement.

            Swampy….dang dude…..ah never mind. From now on I’ll lightly scan your posts…if they are football related I’ll read them because you have great insight. If they are aimed at another poster….I’ll take your advice and not read it. Dang dude, life doesn’t have to be so tough.

          • @Rog, why even lightly scan? That dude is a petulant bigot typing fiction as if it’s grounded in fact based reality. His posts are laughably transparent. Just ignore the noise and have fun with fellow Gators here. Tonight we get USC on ESPNU with NFL football being broadcast simultaneously you can flip to during commercials. I have a couple of kids that play high school basketball and football. Watching Gator games with them is enlightening as their knowledge far exceeds my own. Guess who their favorite team is? I only hope they can get into UF, it’s much harder than when I was accepted. For certain, my SAT scores back in the day would not get me in today. As always, GO GATORS!

          • Yay, another 6 and Tampa spat…

            I disagree that Tampa writes fiction and I often like reading what he has to say. See below his take on Henderson and Copeland — I think it’s on point. See above his comments regarding the Fields situation. I often find the things he has to say very intriguing. For example, I feel it is extremely irresponsible to speculate about a man’s character without at least some modicum of evidence to back it up.

            However, holy cow does your presentation suck Tampa. You could have presented your admirable value of not baselessly disparaging a man’s character in a way that was conducive to people listening — instead, no one here is talking about that point. This thread has turned into a discussion about ignoring you.

            You seem to be under this impression that you do not have anything personal against 6 and you are absolutely incorrect. In fact, I don’t remember seeing your vitriol targeted at anyone besides him (except when other people jump in the middle of your feud). In case you are interested in the dynamic in here changing – this is a fact that you will have to accept. And no, 6 is not totally innocent. I don’t often comment but I do read and I remember plenty of back and forth last year. But it seems that for a while now, 6 has taken a step back and this feud is often reinitiated by you.

          • Someone above suggested that it is just his style. No, you are not required to just get “used” to his style. But you can try to understand the fact that he is a little brash (entertainingly so) and his style does not match yours. That is okay. You are not marrying him. We all have coworkers, family, etc. whose personality just does not match with ours. You can simply choose to not engage. And when he says something that you disagree with and feel compelled to write against – you can do it in a more constructive manner.

            I apologize for the long write-up and the preponderance of prepositional phrases. I usually try to go back and fix that but I have some other stuff to do this Saturday.

          • Thanks also to you @gelco30. I just need to let the good guys on here outweigh the bad. Appreciate it!!!

            Yeah, I’m not sure my SAT scores back in the day would get in me today either 🙂 At the end of the day, I graduated in pretty good shape and my career has been pretty nice, but when I started out right out of high school I was not the star student. Let’s just say that CJ’s quarter beer night on Tuesdays did me in for a long time…….

          • TJ, I appreciate your comments but I want to make a couple of things perfectly clear here: I am not having a “spat” with Tampa/Swampy/Kipper. It takes two to tango, and I have not danced that dance in quite some time. Accordingly, as I tried to make clear in my brief post yesterday, this is a “one way street”. In that post (above), I was not addressing the other person; it was a general post expressing both my astonishment and chagrin at this latest provocation.

            The second point I want to make clear is that it was not in any way my intent to cast aspersions at Kirby Smart, who I agree is a nice guy, or in any way do I desire for Georgia to undergo NCAA sanctions — both of which now are somehow attributed to me. I would suggest that such attributions are instead the product of someone else’s motives, which ought to be clear enough since those words or even words to that effect have never come out of my mouth. Had they, I would surely stand by them; I won’t tho, since they are not my thoughts at all.

            I have a long history of flair ups with this individual going back to when he for some reason decided, unjustifiably, that I was an “FSU troll”. It only got worse over time, and I will certainly admit some culpability for those escalations due to my confronting him. I have long since given up on that and most certainly, like many other times, this one is not of my doing. Regrettably, however, once again simply by being present on this site when he has one of his mood swings, I seem to be assigned responsibility for “feuding” with him. I would tell you also that when a guy like Rog does that, and considers leaving the site because of it — well, it’s later than I thought. I can remedy that situation quite easily, however.

            Once again this has become a major, public distraction. Perhaps that is the purpose, perhaps it isn’t — I really don’t know, owing to the fact that I cannot read minds, let alone motives. One thing is for certain, however — it does not belong here. Now, I’m quite certain that the “other individual” will have something to say about all this; in fact, due to the history of this thing I can probably tell you exactly what to expect. I won’t do that since I don’t really care, and it has gone on too long anyway.

            Gator65 has my email address as he and I communicate often. He has my authorization to give it out to anybody who wants to pursue it further. Alternatively, you can send me a private message on here — I’m not leaving the site per se, but I’m certainly not going to discuss it anymore on this forum. –GATOR-6 SENDS.

          • I know one thing for sure, I have never written five paragraphs to explain my total innocence and purity about anything. And I did not attack you above, although your buddies have made it out to be that. I defended Kirby Smart (one person posted and said I could have come to his defense in a better manner, and that is likely true). And Kirby Smart, I know, is a really good and honest person. I have no clue who or what you are. But I also know you have insulted other coaches on here as well. You make jokes and light of things one here, and you also often personal personal insults and attacks (as you did on Kirby Smart). Who is the real Gator 6? I tire of one of them on here.

          • “The dude (me) is a petulant bigot typing fiction as if it’s grounded in fact based reality.”

            Gelco. I suggest you go back, as far back as you desire on here, and find one post of mine that is bigoted. And by the way, a white man calling another white man a redneck is not bigoted. Just so you know. And almost all my posts are fact based. Even the one above where I defended the personal character of Kirby Smart. Thank you.

      • Never read on here where anyone posted that Mullen could not recruit. I have repeatedly read (and I have posted over and over again) that Florida has to recruit at a higher level to compete for championships (and the staff is starting to do that now), but that data-based narrative never sinks in to some on here. An alternative narrative is preferred by some.

        • the inability to recruit at an elite level is clearly what foley said was why he chose champ over mullen and was printed in every newspaper in the country and plenty of posters expressed concern about it. i disagreed with it then, but its kinda useful now.
          i still contend the game is changed a little, its more about scouting, finding guys that will respond to your training. some guys are going to be elite whether they played for a lesser coach like champ or a good one like sos, and leadership is much more important imo than 40 time, and also offensive line and defensive tackle its probably more important than other positions imo.

          • Boy, did you nail it mveal! That media legend about his “poor recruiting” was created by Mr. Foley to cover up why he chose not to even interview CDM. Fact is, Mr. Foley didn’t appreciate CDM calling him out publicly for not keeping up with Alabama on football program expenditures back when he took the MSU HBC job. We’ve had THAT discussion before on this site.

  2. Lakeland. Henderson apparently fits well in Mullen’s offense in that he can play both inside and outside at WR. He is also a good blocker, and that is a must in Mullen’s offense. It is not all about being fast with Mullen and Gonzalez. I think Copeland is struggling with being a total WR that runs patterns consistently, catches the ball most of the time, knows the offense thoroughly, and blocks on the edges well. And is unselfish in ones play. You have to do all those things to play WR at Florida. This kid fits the that bill based on what I have read about him.

  3. Swampy, I agree with your assessment.
    where I’m coming from is that I think to get to the next level and compete against Ga. and Bama, we need a burner like a Harvin that can put fear in the D, spread it out and create space. Maybe Cleveland is that speed guy if he gains weight and strength and stays healthy. He has shown occasional flashes of this. We need Cleveland to step up next year.

  4. Well as a BS Gator fan (before Sourrier), I would be personally happy if UGA went on a losing streak that lasted the rest of my lifetime. I don’t care if they don’t win another game, it would still make me happy to beat them in Jacksonville every season!
    Now back to our regularly scheduled programming 😁😁

    • Sparky, I’m a Gator fan dating back to late in the Ray Graves era, but really more in the Doug “wait til next year” Dickey era. And I agree with you 100% on UGA…..they can lose every game from now to eternity and I’d still be rooting for them to lose their next game.

  5. Losing Mel Tucker to the HC job at Colorado will hurt in the dawg camp, but personally I think Kirby did more damage with the poor way he handled the Justin Fields situation. I think they have peaked and are now beginning a decline that will be accelerated by our NASA like rise in power. Look for 2019 to be an epic battle for East dominance in which we spank that puppies tail with some newspaper and send him to hide his head under the nearest object available after our next annual meeting in Jax. I am expecting their recruiting to begin falling off to our advantage now that Kirby’s real shortcomings have been exposed. Just wait until Dan beats him with less talent next year, it will get even better after that happens. ( I could be wrong, but I’m usually not )

    • The Justin Fields situation will be interesting to see unfold, although I place far more blame on the kid’s father than on Smart. He was the guy advising his dual-threat son to accept an offer to go play QB for a pro-style team that already had a successful pro-style QB, all because he once had a dream of playing at Georgia he wanted to realize through his talented son. That was just selfish and Justin is now paying the price.

      All Smart wanted was a solid backup QB now that Eason quit and a starter in a couple of years.

  6. Might wanna write Arjei’s name in pencil on the list. Seems to me like he’s into dating other people. Not going on anything firm, or data-based, or you know, like a civil war. And not really trying to start a narrative.

    Oh, and I’m with Sparky on UGa.

  7. It’s being reported that its official about Fields transferring Ohio State. I cant wait to hear what he uses as his appeal for hardship. Maybe he will throw out the racist atmosphere that was reported and got the baseball player kicked out of UGA. The more misery the better for those mangy mutts!!

  8. I’ve heard and read many times that Mullen can coach but his recruiting is not up to par. Looking at Mullen’s pressers and field interviews he comes off as knowledgeable and like-able and makes his points quickly. Compare that to McElwain whose pressers were unwatchable as he stumbled, hemmed and hawed responding to any simple question, a total bore that begged for the remote “OFF” button . I can understand why Mac couldn’t recruit for crap, but Mullen can make a connection with about anyone in conversation because he is actually interesting. From there, then recruiting pitch has a chance.

    • Jeremy Foley based his assessment of CDM’s “poor recruiting skills” on his stint as Gator OC. He was only too happy to let the media know THAT was his reasoning for choosing Muschump, who had no head coaching experience, over CDM to replace Meyer after he “retired” in 2010. After that, CDM’s “poor recruiting skills” became something of a media legend, even though he turned the 2nd worst program in the SEC into a consistent top 25 football team.

      There are always exceptions, but offensive coordinators can rarely be good recruiters. Recruiting requires near constant communication with recruits year-round. During the season, OCs are too busy watching film, developing game plans and preparing the entire offense for the next game to be constantly texting, calling and visiting with recruits.

      Even after he fired Muschump in 2014, Foley avoided hiring CDM even though, by then, his performance at MSU was well documented. Perhaps, Mr. Foley had more personal reasons for ignoring CDM as a candidate than his “poor recruiting skills.”

      • Yup, Foley was all about his ego. It was the reason why he did not rehire Spurrier and it was the reason why he did not hire Mullen after Muschamp. Foley was a great overall AD but holy cow he was a disaster at managing the football program. And anyone that gives him credit for Spurrier or Meyer is delusional — though not being able to hold on to them is on him.

        I defend his decision to not hire Mullen the first time since no one with little to no HC experience at an FBS level should be hired at UF. But that applies to Muschamp as well.

  9. I do not appreciated the negative comments about HC Dan Mullen. He took a floundering program and turned it around in a single year. I don’t care if he has to recruit homeless people to get the job done. He has proven himself HERE AT FLORIDA (in case you complete idiots forgot) and has made a consistently respectable showing in the SEC WEST (unquestionably the toughest division in college football) for nearly a decade. All who attempt to denegrate our new HC are complete imbeciles who know nothing about college football.