Two major Gator targets are planning to drive from North Carolina to Gainesville and tour campus on Saturday — Shelby Crest defensive end Jonathan Bullard and his good friend Forest City Chase defensive tackle Carlos Watkins.
Originally the plan was to include Bullard’s teammate Rhaheim Ledbetter, a strong safety who is committed to Florida. But speaking with Bullard on Friday, he said the group won’t have room in their vehicle.
“We should have gotten a bigger car,” Bullard said.
It’s easy to see why. Bullard and Watkins take up a lot of space, and Bullard is bringing his mother and brother along as well.
They are set to drive down in the morning because Crest has a game on Friday night.
Bullard, who is 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, is rated a five-star prospect and the No. 2 strongside defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com. The same site ranks Watkins (6-4, 275) as a four-star athlete and the No. 8 defensive tackle in the nation.
Watkins was here recently, observing but not participating in Friday Night Lights. After FNL he said he no longer had a favorite school and included Florida in his top four with South Carolina, Alabama and Clemson.
Watkins is looking to pull the trigger and announce his verbal in Septemeber, while Bullard says October would be the earliest he is planning to choose.
It’s a perfect day for a visit, as Saturday is the team’s annual Letterman’s Barbecue, with plenty of former players returning to hang out with the team.
You can expect the Gator coaching staff will pull out all the stops for this visit, as Florida would love to add Watkins and Bullard to the North Carolina haul. In addition to Ledbetter, recent UF verbal D.J. Humphries (a five-star offensive tackle from Charlotte, N.C.) says he is also working on Watkins and Bullard.
The two visitors are hoping to arrive in time to catch the Gators practice in addition to touring the facilities. With Bullard’s family on hand, it’s the best possible scenario for the staff to show off what Florida has to offer. No doubt their pitch will include a look at the defensive line depth chart, where UF can promise the opportunity to compete for early playing time.
Although the scenario is nearly ideal for a verbal commitment or two, Gator fans shouldn’t hold their breath. But perhaps one or both of these big-time prospects will come away from their visit with Florida as their leader.
Also expected at Saturday’s practice (and sure to help with the recruiting pitch) is UF wide receiver pledge Latroy Pittman, who says he will drive up from nearby Citra. Another Gator commit, safety Marcus Maye, was planning to attend but had to alter his plans because of a team practice on Saturday morning.