QB Jones highlights Florida’s Early Signing Class

Quarterback Emory Jones (16) throws a pass during the Under Armour Future 50 football camp in Lake Buena Vista last year. Jones signed with Florida on Wednesday. (Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP)

New Florida coach Dan Mullen scored a huge recruiting victory today when the Gators’ No. 1 quarterback target, dual-threat Emory Jones, signed with UF.

A former Ohio State commitment, Jones chose the Gators over Ohio State and Florida State.

Jones is rated the No. 4 dual-threat QB in the nation, and his skill set seems like a perfect fit for what Mullen likes to do with his offense.

Mullen and his staff got on Jones late in the process, but were able to turn him over the last few days. He visited both UF and FSU this past weekend, and it appears it came down to a battle between those two in-state rivals for Jones, the standout from Heard County (Ga.) High School.

Mullen had recruited Jones during his tenure as head coach at Mississippi State.

— Robbie Andreu


Noah Banks
Position: Offensive Lineman
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 305 pounds
Previous school: Iowa Western C.C.
Ranking: No. 6 JUCO offensive lineman by 247Sports and the No. 9 JUCO offensive lineman by ESPN.
How he fits in: Considering his age and experience, Banks gives the Gators another potential rotational lineman. He’s an ideal fit for the system Mullen plans to run, and should earn playing time from Day 1.
Will he enroll early?: A JUCO mid-year enrollee, Banks will report to campus in January.

Chris Bleich
Position: Offensive Lineman
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 315 pounds
High School: Wyoming Valley West (Pa.)
Ranking: No. 33 offensive lineman by 247Sports and the No. 22 offensive lineman by ESPN.
How he fits in: While Bleich may need more time progressing, he’s a potential candidate for early playing time simply due to uncertainty UF has at the position. His frame and size are ideal for the position, but his role won’t be determined until he’s arrived on campus.
Will he enroll early?: Yes, Bleich plans to enroll early at UF.

Amari Burney
Position: Defensive back/Linebacker
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 210 pounds
High School: Clearwater Calvary Christian
Ranking: No. 59 overall prospect in the 2018 class by ESPN and the No. 15 safety by 247Sports.
How he fits in: Burney gives the Gators a versatile playmaker able to play multiple positions. Early playing time will be determined on which position UF decides to use him at, but his upside alone gives him an opportunity to factor in from Day 1.
Will he enroll early?: Yes, Burney plans to enroll early at UF.

Iverson Clement
Position: Running back
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 200 pounds
High School: Rancocas Valley Regional High (NJ)
Ranking: No. 11 athlete by 247Sports and the No. 24 athlete by ESPN.
How he fits in: Clement isn’t the only signee who could be in for a position change at UF, especially considering the wealth at running back the Gators have. His opportunities to play early will be defined by his role, and it helps that he’ll be on campus in January.
Will he enroll early?: Yes, Clement plans to enroll early at UF.


Trey Dean

Position: Safety

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 185 pounds

High School: Dutchtown (Ga.)

Ranking: No. 21 safety by ESPN and the No. 22 safety by 247Sports.

How he fits in: Dean’s first priority will be getting into a collegiate weight training program, and from there the sky’s the limit. A lengthy playmaker with advanced ball skills, Dean could very well join the list of freshmen who have factored heavily into UF’s secondary.

Will he enroll early?: Yes, Dean is on track to enroll early at UF.

John Huggins
Position: Safety
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 195 pounds
High School: Daytona Beach Mainland
Ranking: No. 32 safety by 247Sports and
How he fits in: An underrated in-state prospect, Huggins gives the Gators an aggressive defensive back who is a sure tackler in the secondary. Huggins should see the field early for Florida barring any setbacks in his development.
Will he enroll early?: No


Emory Jones

Position: Dual-threat quarterback

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 195 pounds

High School: Heard County (Ga.)

Ranking: No. 4 dual-threat quarterback by 247Sports and the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback by ESPN

How he fits in: Let’s make one thing clear: Jones will have a legitimate shot at being UF’s quarterback as a true freshman. With the Gators once again having an open QB competition, Jones would appear to have the upper hand under new coach Dan Mullen despite the presence of redshirt sophomores Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask.

Will he enroll early?: Yes, Jones has indicated he is on track to enroll early at UF.


Dante Lang

Position: Tight end/Defensive end

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 220 pounds

High School: Boca Raton High

Ranking: No. 27 tight end by 247Sports and the No. 61 defensive end by ESPN

How he fits in: Lang possesses advanced ball skills for someone who played primarily on the defensive side of the ball throughout high school. He’ll have work to do to progress offensively if he hopes to play early, especially with the addition of highly rated tight end Kyle Pitts.

Will he enroll early?: No


Evan McPherson

Position: Kicker

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 165 pounds

High School: Fort Payne (Ala.)

Ranking: No. 2 kicker by 247Sports

How he fits in: With kicker Eddy Pineiro declaring for the NFL Draft, McPherson is the future at the position for UF. He has big cleats to fill, especially considering the adoration bestowed upon Pineiro from the Florida faithful.

Will he enroll early?: No


Dameon Pierce

Position: Running back

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 210 pounds

High School: Bainbridge (Ga.)

Ranking: No. 10 running back by 247Sports and No. 7 running back by ESPN.

How he fits in: With UF running backs Lamical Perine and Malik Davis, Pierce will aim to find work as a situational back barring unforeseen circumstances. But considering his talent level, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Pierce become a factor earlier than anticipated.

Will he enroll early?: Yes, Pierce plans to enroll early at UF.


Kyle Pitts

Position: Tight end

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 235 pounds

Ranking: No. 2 tight end by ESPN and No. 6 tight end by 247Sports.

How he fits in: Let’s make one thing clear: Pitts should contribute early for UF. Considering his size, offensive ability and overall football acumen, it would be a surprise if Pitts isn’t hauling in receptions vs. Charleston Southern on Sept. 1.

Will he enroll early?: No


David Reese

Position: Outside linebacker

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 215 pounds

High School: Vero Beach

Ranking: No. 28 outside linebacker by ESPN and No. 20 outside linebacker by 247Sports.

How he fits in: Reese possesses advanced coverage skills for the position, and his ability to chase down an opponent makes him an ideal candidate to see the field early for Florida. However, considering he won’t arrive until June, his early playing time will be contingent upon his weight training and progression in Fall camp.

Will he enroll early?: No


Randy Russell

Position: Defensive back

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 175 pounds

High School: Carol City

Ranking: No. 28 safety by both ESPN and 247Sports.

How he fits in: Russell is one of the hardest-hitting tacklers for his size in recent memory, and that alone should make him an ideal candidate to factor into UF’s secondary. Don’t be surprised to see him making plays within the first month of the season.

Will he enroll early?: Yes, Russell intends to enroll early at UF.


  1. OH, MY!!! Chicken Little’s ain’t gonna be happy with this QB. He’s not 6’6′ and 300 lbs. of rock hard muscle. He can’t stand flat-footed in the end zone and fling the football 105 yards on the fly to the other end zone while putting enough air under it for a WR (that runs the 100 in 13 seconds) to make the catch. Chicken Little’s sho nuf gonna have a field day with these SIGNED commits.

    • Old man–while I have never been a Chicken Little or a Doom & Gloomer, I will concede and admit on this post at1809 hours 20Dec17 in front of God and everybody that I am officially hereafter and evermore a Suck Egg Mule. I really felt that Jones was going to FSU. Call me anything you want (except late to dinner), but I’m one happy Gator right now.

        • Hey Gator, appur*ciate that. When you make a bold call like that in front of this crowd, and then lay a freakin’ egg like that….well, might as well fess up and at least preserve any dignity you thought you once had!

      • I honestly didn’t think the Gators would get him, either. I just got tired of the cheap shots thrown at Mullen before he ever coached a practice. I noticed that one of the favorites to replace McElwain (Taggart) really rocked the recruiting world with his haul of 4 signees. By the way, Do you eat dinner at noon or around 6 PM? I’m thinking of having some grilled pork steaks, lima beans and collards with an appertizer, while grilling, of hog head cheese on saltine crackers. You’re welcome to come.

        • Glad to hear somebody else thought that too, Old Man….my mistake was saying it publicly! I eat anytime, that’s a consequence of being retired and not having a set schedule anymore. I was thinking more like hog jowls and black eyed peas, stewed tomater sammich on lite rye bread so you have to lift and eat fast lest it fall thru the crust, and some of that gelatenous membrane on the top of Spam spread on a Ritz Cracker. Come on out to Texas….as if my wife would actually allow me to…………

  2. I have to wonder how all the doomsayers will try to spin this signing class? For all the people complaining that Mullen didn’t do everything to sign Corral, he ended up signing a higher rated qb! And one that’s much better suited for this offense. The 2019 and 2020 classes will actually be the ones that determine if Mullen can get the Gators back to competing for championships. GO GATORS!!

  3. This shows that Mullen can recruit at UF. Will he best the recruiter ever here, probably not. But he has shown he can sign a top 5 type qb in his first 3 weeks which has been a big problem for the last 2 staffs over the last 8 years. The fact that we took OSU’s number 1 choice at qb is a big deal.

  4. Super day for Gator football IMO. Coach Mullen got his QB(Welcome Emory) & all but two of the current commits signed early plus Trey Dean signed as well. Coach is setting up for an excellent first class with a few weeks left. Go Gators!

  5. Getting Jones was huge….without that hit it would have to be called a mediocre class at best! Yes he did have a really short time to recruit and hopefully we will see better. It was a bad hit when we lost all our wide receiver commitments and didn’t land anymore.

  6. I see that many Gator fans don’t know anything about the past. Emory Jones is just the latest, in a long string, highly rated QB to sign with UF. Since Tebow, all of them have been busts. Remember John Brantley, Jeff Driskel, Will Grier, Felipe Franks, etc.? Also, many seem to forget that McElwain was the, supposed, “QB Whisperer” that was going to improve UF’s offense, just like the latest knight in shining armor, Dan Mullen.
    Gainesville has been a place where QBs go to die, and the jury is still out on whether that fact has changed. Sure, getting Jones is nice, but it doesn’t mean anything until real games are played. I seem to recall everyone saying that UF’s offensive line was going to be great this past year and the receivers were the top group in the SEC. It turns out that both groups were among the worst in the country. It takes a lot more than looking good on paper, as UF’s 4-7 record attests.

    • Well, ShowMe……..you made some points in that downer tirade of yours, I won’t deny that. Particularly the ones about “on paper” and “until real games are played”. I mean, who can argue c that? But come on, man, don’t you see any promise thus far in a head coach c a real, proven SEC record, who wants to be here in his dream job, and the assistants lined up to coach this incoming, talented group of young men as well as the current group of men already on the roster? Talking about recent history, do you recall what happened to this season’s team just before the first game was actually played? Or the injuries that occurred during the season itself? Or the piss poor OC calls made all season, not to even mention the borderline insane deportment of the head coach himself? There’s a place for pessimism, it balances things out sometimes. But this glass is more than half full, buddy, and we need to acknowledge that! I swear, and not to sound like the previous POTUS, hope means something and most of us just got a big bag full of it.

      • He regurgitated the obvious disguised as solid analysis…we won’t know until he gets there and see past QBs yada yada yada. Optimism for upcoming seasons…case in point last year coming off back to back SEC champ appearances…is par for the course. Basically, he stated the equivalent of Monday is followed by Tuesday. What’s truly lame is that he has 29 aliases and keeps coming to another fan bases website like a teenager. It’s pretty pathetic.

      • I will point out that last year is not ther only year UF’s QBs, and offense, has sucked. There is always an excuse, isn’t there? UF’s offense has, and QBs been, awful for EIGHT straight years. Mullen is the FOURTH head coach, along with numerous offensive coordinators. Emory Jones is just the latest “Great White Hope.” Maybe UF’s offense will improve, and the “Tebow Curse” will end. But, the same exact words have been said before, when talking about McElwain, Roper, Driskel, etc.etc. If words meant anything, which they don’t, UF wouldn’t have had TWO losing seasons or have an offense that is almost always one of the worst in the nation the past EIGHT years.
        This reminds me of last year, when UF was so full of itself, after Corral and others committed to UF, that they had a “pool party” at McElwain’s house. When the “talk” was over, UF looked awful in it’s first game, and that didn’t change because they looked awful in their last game as well.
        I’ll remind everyoner that Dan Mullen was’nt a highly sought after coach. There’s a reason he was stuck in Starkville for nine years, and it wasn’t because he didn’t want to leave.
        Recruiting is not over. Let’s see how UF shapes up after the final signing day. Even then, let’s see if UF is even competitive on the field with teams like Alabama, Michigan, FSU, etc. Right now, UF isn’t even competitive, and it takes much more than words to change that.

    • You’re conveniently ignoring the fact that since Tebow & Mullen the Gators haven’t had a head coach or OC that knew squat about developing QBs. Matter of fact, they didn’t know much about offenses at all.

  7. I wasn’t a big fan of the Mullen hire, but I like the fact that he gets what type of QB you need at the college level. Unless you really think that you’re bringing in a surefire NFL drop back passer, then always go with the best dual-threat guy. You can always help him improve as a passer, but in the meantime his legs will make defenses respect the run, thus creating more room for the wideouts to roam.

  8. Crickets!!!!!!! I know all of you well football educated GATORS her them. Nothing from the doomsday folks (I had fans there and chose folks instead). SILENCE, it is better to be silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. You are doing the correct thing with your lips sealed. Nice work coach, the early signs are great and will begin a “snowball effect” of offense talent. Go Gators!!!

  9. Solid start for Coach Mullen and staff – though we lost a few flips, we also gained a few (at least verbally), and Jones is a huge catch – looks like he will be an excellent fit in the modified spread offense I anticipate from the new coaching staff. We certainly need to concentrate on improving the production of our QB position. Franks will still be in the mix, but needs to learn to only glance at his intended target, rather than stare them down. If a 62 year old geezer like me who never played college ball can figure out who he is going to throw the ball to, you can bet that good quality defenders (like the ones playing for FSU) will do the same, only quicker than me. Sorry for the digression – this is a good start to what I expect will be a good recruiting class – like the two tight ends and RBs – now we need a few receivers on offense, and a couple more LBs on defense (also at least one good DT and DE each). Scored the #2 kicker – awesome!

    • This might be the best thing that ever happened to Franks, Glen. Or not, but I suspect that c the right OL and the right type of coaching, there may still be a place for him. Mullen does like to mix it up, you know.

      • I doubt it, unless franks changes position to a tight end. if proven wrong ill be happy. I do hope toney gets moved back to qb and then I think its going to be fun!
        I know we have signed 5 highly rated qbs in the last 10 years, but with mullen I think we will get more out of the qb position than anything since tebow

        • That’s a roger, we all tossed that tight end move around two or three weeks ago and it got pretty contentious as I recall. I’d be happy c that if he can play the position so why not give it a shot? Same-same Toney at QB. Just hope we’ve finally broken the curse at QB once and for all.

  10. As good as Pitts will probably be for UF, it wouldn’t surprise me if he does NOT see the field next season. Not gonna be here until fall, and we have 3 experienced TEs who will no longer by coached by Nord, plus Gamble, who may be very good, coming off his injury. LB Reese’s pictures make him look ready to play, and at a position of need. And I could see Burney growing into a LB, like Kylan Johnson did.
    You left out Lemons from your RB list, he looked like our best back after Malik Davis went down. He should be very good in the spread offense. RB is the ONLY position where we seem to have the depth we need. Mullen has his work cut out for him due to Mac’s very avg. recruiting and poor player development. I hope people understand that with Kirby Smart recruiting as well as Bama ever has for his 2017 and 2018 classes, it will be a long road back. Smart has SIX five stars committed, we have zero. It takes time for relationships with asst. coaches to materialize into signings of elite players, also Mullen has to show that for the first time since 2009, we look like we are actually coached.

    • You’re right Steve, I also forgot about Lemons…..if that OL can get up to speed next year, we should kill everybody in RBs. I’m concerned about Kirby Smart too, and if those guys win the NC this year (which I hope they do), God forbid…..

      But. I have every reason to think that the East will shed this idiotic reputation, beginning this coming season, and man alive, there will be some exciting football in the SEC. To include us, for a change.

    • Well stated Steve. That is a major criticism I had of Mac…his assessment of guys and choice of playing time. You hear about guys and don’t get the ball…Toney, Massey for example. Then when it’s obvious who the nest of a group is, it takes half the season at a minimum to get the bulk of the plays (Scarlett last year and Malik Davis this year). Heck Lemons showed he should have seen the field as well…

  11. Mullen knows how to coach offense, he’s an OC type guy. Chimp was a D-only guy, and McTard is the biggest waste of money since the Titanic.

    We’re gonna be OK folks. Support Dan, support the GATORS, it’ll take awhile but we now have qualified people driving this train.