While it won’t come with the typical intrigue and luster, National Signing Day should still be an exciting, and potentially dramatic, one for the Florida Gators.
Despite signing 21 prospects in the early signing period – 10 of whom are already on campus as mid-year enrollees – the Gators aren’t done yet.
After factoring in four transfers to that group, Florida has room to sign four prospects Wednesday – although it remains to be seen if UF will hit its target.
Of the team’s three committed players, only Xzavier Henderson is expected to sign with the program Wednesday after commits Marc Britt and Leonard Manuel trended elsewhere over the past month. As it stands, the latter two will not sign Wednesday, while Henderson has yet to announce a time where he’ll finalize his commitment.
Aside from UF’s commits, the main name to watch is DeLand athlete Avantae Williams, who has narrowed his choices to Florida and Miami and will announce his decision at 12:30 p.m. With his cousin, running back Lorenzo Lingard, in the fold, the Gators appear to be the team to beat for Williams heading into the final stretch.
But if his recruitment to date is any indication — the four-star safety has already committed and de-committed from both Miami and Oregon — Williams’ journey to college football won’t be over until a letter of intent is signed, sealed and delivered.
Although Florida fans will have to wait until mid-afternoon for news regarding Williams’ future, the Gators will be in the mix for several prospects committing earlier in the morning.
Damarcus Beckwith, a 6-foot-4 athlete/tight end out of Florence, Alabama, will decide at 10 a.m. between a trio of SEC programs in Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee — although the Gators may be on the outside looking in after tight ends coach Larry Scott accepted a FCS head coaching job at Howard University.
Still in heavy pursuit of a running back, the Gators are trying to flip four-star running back Ashaad Clayton from Colorado. The New Orleans native took an official visit to UF on Jan. 24, and sent several fans into a flurry Monday when he posted an image of a somersaulting man on his Twitter page, leading many to think a flip was in the cards. He’ll announce his decision during the 11 a.m. window — as will Georgia commit Sedrick Van Pran.
After taking an official visit to UF over the weekend, Van Pran is down to UGA and the Gators, with many analysts believing the center will stick with the Dawgs when the time comes.
Considering the Gators have 15 scholarship offensive linemen on the roster already — not to mention several highly regarded walk-on prospects at the position — Florida can afford to miss out on Van Pran, especially after flipping Josh Braun from Georgia before the early signing period commenced.
Unable to convince Jahmyr Gibbs to flip from Georgia Tech in December, the Gators appear to have moved on and prioritized Clayton; meanwhile, Gibbs’ recruitment has taken off. In addition to trips to Florida and GT, the native of Dalton, Georgia, took official visits to LSU and Ohio State after the dead period ended — but all signs point to him sticking with his commitment and signing with Geoff Collins’ program during a ceremony at 12:30 p.m.
The final table the Gators will be a hat on is that of Princely Umanmielen, a four-star defensive end out of Manor, Texas. Umanmielen backed off a pledge to Texas during the 2019 season, and since then he’s seen his stock rise as the likes of Auburn, Baylor and Florida have come into the mix. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder will reveal his collegiate future at 3:30 p.m. — a full 90 minutes after UF coach Dan Mullen addresses the local media.
Considering the Gators could sign as few as one or as many as four prospects Wednesday, the 2020 iteration of National Signing Day may be as critical as they come.
Note: Gatorsports.com will be following UF’s prospects starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday with live updates and we’ll have coverage of Dan Mullen’s news conference in the afternoon.