Gators poised for top-10 finish on National Signing Day

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Florida football coach Dan Mullen talks to the crowd as the team is recognized during Saturday's basketball game against Kentucky at Exactech Arena. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

After signing 21 football prospects in the Early Signing Period, the Gators will look to complete the 2019 class during National Signing Day — and possibly rise into the top-10, too.

The signing of two committed prospects — linebacker Diwun Black and wide receiver Arjei Henderson — is all but guaranteed Wednesday, and Florida coach Dan Mullen has the Gators firmly in the mix to land up to four uncommitted prospects by the day’s end.

Ranked the No. 3 weak-side defensive end in the 2019 class by the 247Sports composite, Khris Bogle will put pen to paper at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday during a ceremony at Cardinal Gibbons High. Bogle visited the Gators on Jan. 25 and Miami this past weekend, although most expect the 6-foot-4 prospect to spurn the advances of both the ’Canes and Gators and stick with his Jan. 5 commitment to Alabama.

Florida could potentially add a dynamic offensive weapon in Mark-Antony Richards, who has seemingly narrowed his decision to Auburn, Penn State and Florida. Ranked one of the top athletes in the 2019 class, Richards, whose brother, Ahmmon, played wide receiver at Miami until suffering a career-ending injury, has been trending in the direction of Auburn as of late, yet many believe the Gators are still a player in his recruitment. He’ll announce his collegiate destination at 11 a.m. during a ceremony at Wellington High.

Before Mullen takes the lectern at 1:30 p.m. to recap his first complete recruiting cycle as UF’s head coach, the Gators will await the announcement of highly regarded defensive back Kaiir Elam. It appears to be a Florida-Georgia battle for Elam, the nephew of former Gators defensive back Matt Elam, and UF remains optimistic about its chances to keep Elam in-state and out of the Kirby Smart’s locker room.

Mullen has emphasized the need for defensive linemen, and the Gators did address the position this class by adding defensive tackle Jaelin Humphries and Louisville transfer Jon Greenard, yet UF may be in play for another defensive lineman.

Charles Moore, a former five-star defensive lineman who committed to Mullen while at Mississippi State in August of 2017, has narrowed his decision to Auburn, Florida and LSU after a whirlwind conclusion to his recruitment. Moore has been hard to read throughout the month of January, as each official visit has led him to reassess his decision. He told reporters on Jan. 13 that UF’s stature as a top-10 public university would heavily factor into his decision, although the SEC offers no shortage of elite academic programs from which Moore will choose.

The Gators currently have 71 scholarship players on campus and in classes, including nine early enrollees and Greenard. The 12 other prospects who signed in December will bring the total to 83 this summer.

If you add the two prospects who have already committed and are expected to sign Wednesday — Black and Henderson — UF will be at 85 scholarships, the NCAA limit.

Still, UF could sign three or four prospects Wednesday as long as there is further attrition, possibly/likely after the spring. The Gators will have to be at 85 scholarship players for the start of preseason camp in August.

One thing’s for certain: Florida’s 2019 class will grow by the end of the day Wednesday. Just how high the class will rise remains anyone’s guess.

 

39 COMMENTS

      • mveal. It is very pressing to keep Elam from signing with Georgia by him signing with Florida tomorrow. Big deal in several ways. But the Gators do need the Ga. Tech OG grad transfer to play OG next year. Him coming would really help a very inexperience OL for next year.

          • No one has ever said that What I have repeatedly said, and so many of you repeatedly lack comprehension of it, is that you need to recruit a bunch of 4 and 5 stars to win championships. If you do not believe me, check the teams that have won championships (conference and national) over the last 20 or so years. But to answer a question you never intended to want an answer for, the Ga. Tech recruit has been an all-SEC team player for Ga. Tech. But he likely would like to come to UF or some other team that recruits at a high level to possibly win a championship in his final year. He would not be able to do that at GT since almost all of their players are three-star recruits. Comprehendeeeeeee????????

          • @Swampy You make the following statement:

            No one has ever said that What I have repeatedly said, and so many of you repeatedly lack comprehension of it, is that you need to recruit a bunch of 4 and 5 stars to win championships.

            Now imagine it without your vitriolic invective:

            No one has ever said that What I have repeatedly said, ,is that you need to recruit a bunch of 4 and 5 stars to win championships.

            Then, you state “So tired of juvenile people on here. ”

            Get the gist?
            You don’t have to be so corrosive. Most people here are fairly decent Gators just chewing the grizzle.

          • I suspect the mutual, common ground, is that by some sort of consensus a team that does not have more 4 & 5* recruits than they do 3* is somewhat less likely to make the playoffs. The only exception is, of course, UCF — but that is by declaration rather than consensus (😀 — for our pal Gelco — only teasing!).

            That said, a good recruiting class and player development are not mutually exclusive. You want both, but if I were forced to choose, I’d pick player development. Our own history is punctuated by great classes that have not in fact turned out so great on the field.

          • @gator-6 Having said what you did, do you suppose CDM could have gotten something more out of Driskell? It is obvious he has developed Franks much better than the previous regime. We seem to have whiffed on Brantley and Driskell.

          • Clemson’s last 5 years recruiting rating. 22,6,4,13,14. Not even a top 10 average rating. Good coaching key players and developing what you have

          • Gelco — I suspect he could have, but then again the most chilling thing I recall about Driskell was that dadblamed “deer in the headlights” look. That said, it does seem he was developed better at La Tech….although not the same caliber of competition of course. By the way, I couldn’t resist the urge to pull your chain, it was all in fun and I appreciate your sense of humor!

            George73 — Thank you.

          • I know which conference Ga. Tech is in. So does everyone else. But I and everyone makes typing errors. But one thing I do not do on here is constantly post juvenile comments. And one reason I really hate coming on here now. And I likely will not post on here much anymore, to the joy of many juveniles on here.

          • Swampy – sorry you are so touchy. The best answer for this situation is that I won’t respond to you and you don’t read my comments. That is the mature way to deal with this instead of whining about others comments. We have one thing in common and that is the GATORS. So, let us leave it at that. GO GATORS!!!

  1. Well written, to put the announcement times in another form……….with orange and blue tinted glasses!
    8:00 am – 100% WR Arjei Henderson
    8:15 am – 75%-DE Khris Bogle
    9:00 am – 100%-LB Diwun Black
    11:oo am – 75%-ATH Mark-Anthony Richards
    1:30 pm – 75%-DB Kaiir Elam
    TBA – 60%-DE Charles Moore

        • Archgator. I am counting 82 players currently on the signed roster:

          QB – 4 (Franks, Trask, E. Jones, J. Jones)
          RB – 5 (Perine, Davis, Pierce, Clement, Wright)
          WR – 11 (Jefferson, Grimes, Cleveland, Hammond, Swain, Toney, Copeland, Wells, Weston, Whittmore, Marks)
          TE – 5 (Gamble, Pitts, Lang, Krull, Zipperer)
          OL – 16 (Forsythe, Delance, Tarquin, Banks, Heggie, Wilson, Simonds, Buchanan, McDowell, Equakun, Bleich, Hammond, White, Couriage, Moore, Harrold)
          DE – 5 (Zuinga, Carter, Langham, Chatfield, Summerall)
          DT – 7 (Ancrum, Campbell, Slaton, Conliffe, Dunlap, Humphries, Shuler)
          LB – 11 (Greenard, Moon, Diabate, Miller, Johnson, Hopper, Pierre, Reese I, Houston, Jackson, Brunson)
          S – 7 (Lenton, Davis, Taylor, Stiner, Stewart, Reese II, Huggins)
          CB – 9 (Wilson, Henderson, Dean, McWilliams, Kimbrough, Hill, Edwards, Steele, Burney)
          K – 2 (McPherson, Townsend)
          82 Total

          Did I miss a transfer listed above?
          Signing Henderson and Black will make 84. Signing Elam would make 85. If Florida signs the OG grad transferring from Ga. Tech, that will make 86.
          I could see Wells transferring before or after spring practice to make room for the OG transfer. I could see Lenton transferring as well to allow another signee.

  2. With Henderson and black, we are already in good shape. If those guys would have waited until tomorrow to say anything and signed with us, we would all be happy. If we get Elam and anyone else, it would be fantastic.Great class any way you look at it. the tough part for me is here we go again with more championships at Florida. With the basketball team’s class coming in next year, I will have to go out and get a loan for Gator championship paraphernalia. Hats, banners, T’s , sweat shirts,etc. It can overwhelm you.

    • Good, I’d rather lose Elam to Colorado (I know I know not happening) than UGAly. We need to start winning those head to head battles regularly. ESPECIALLY when it’s a Florida boy with UF bloodlines. We should be able to lock down 4 of 5 Florida boys if we want them over the out of state schools.

  3. Where we are today compared to two years ago is crazy good. Attitude, commitment, outlook, recruiting, fitness, mental aspect. As much a transformation as possible in the time frame. Perfection is impossible but seeking/striving perfection is what makes great athletes and teams. Where our recruiting class is, is short of amazing. A few short years ago we were falling now we’re rising. While I believe that everyone we want should come here the reality is that won’t happen. The coaches have a plan. We haven’t had one of those in awhile. if this class didn’t add another player I’d think we did great. Knowing that we are going to add a few more makes this an outstanding class. While I agree we could use a few more top ranked recruits I think there are some diamonds in the rough that we have that could be a * higher than they are. While I understand the logic behind the * rankings = championships I also believe it doesn’t guarantee one. Meaning there is enough talent to win championships without having loads of 4 &5 *. A coach will have to work hard to do so. That is why M St did well with CD, if only briefly being elite. He did it with less resources, given our rich territory, and history we are gaining need momentum. In closing we are on a collision course with greatness and as I said before recruits will soon become Gators or wish they had. Go Gators. Come join us recruits. Come be a part of greatness.

  4. “With its exploding population, tropical allure and homegrown talent, Alabama’s Bear Bryant always said Florida was a sleeping giant.” Spurrier awoke the giant. Meyer resurrected the giant. Now it appears Mullen is saving the giant from cardiac arrest. Now let’s see if Mullen and The Boys can replace Bryant’s team in the College Football Playoffs! Go Gators! Go get Gators CDM!

  5. Recruiting rankings for one year, particularly after signing day, does not mean a whole lot because it doesn’t give anything close to a good picture of how good the team is or will be this fall or in the out years. Some players never even make it on campus by Fall. Players do transfer, get injured, kicked off the team, etc. How many of Alabama’s highly rated classes from the past 3 years have left the team? Recruiting rankings is one data point. Need to add more data points. If I were to create a ranking system, in addition to the recruiting rankings by year, I would create rankings for the current entire (up to) 85 man roster, another ranking for just the top 50 players on the roster because they will see the most playing time, and another ranking for the two deep roster during the season. The later takes into account that a highly rated freshmen may red-shirt and not see the field much. Now if only I was motivated by money, I’d create a site with such data to generate lots of traffic.

      • StL – Right on. Thank you!!! I was thinking 247 should provide that data since they already have the database of well respected industry player and team recruiting rankings. Lo and behold it’s already there albeit buried deep in their menus. Now if they will take it a step further by making it real time (the last update was back in October), and provide the option to tally only the top 50 players on the roster, and the two deep roster, I’d be tickled pink.

        • You’re welcome Sly. Just a small public service to fellow Gators that want to dig beyond the headlines.

          It appears that 2018 was the first season for which 247 published these composite rankings. They’ve been popular with media types in discussing the long-term impact of consistent recruiting on team performances. They certainly point clearly to the recent coaching disfunction at FSU and USC and to a lesser extent at Ohio State.

          My guess is that 247 will update them a few times a year, after rosters stabilize. Expect the first 2019 composite rankings in March, reflecting spring practice rosters. Expect the first major 2019 revision in July, after the post spring shakeout, reflecting the official 85-man fall practice squads. The final update should come out in October, after fall practice and early season shakeouts. Note that Kelly Bryant does not show up on Clemson’s squad for 2018, even though he was there during the first 4 games.