Florida signed 21 prospects during the early signing period, and the Gators are in prime position for a strong finish Feb. 6, National Signing Day.
Despite the high number of signed players, in addition to two verbal commits in Diwun Black and Arjei Henderson, the Gators can add several more highly recruited prospects over the final four weeks of the 2019 cycle.
Division I programs are limited to signing a maximum of 25 players in each class — however, programs can sign more than 25 prospects by counting five early enrollees toward the previous class, which Florida appears set to do after counting just 22 prospects to the 2018 class.
To add another wrinkle to the equation, the SEC doesn’t allow programs to receive more than 28 signed letters of intent; needless to say, the counting of scholarships requires meticulous management, and a little creativity, too.
Although things could certainly change between now and Feb. 6, the Gators should sign five prospects on National Signing Day to a class currently ranked No. 11 by 247Sports.
Now, after a nearly month-long dead period that prohibited coaches from in-person contact with prospective student-athletes, the Gators will begin the final stretch of Dan Mullen’s first full recruiting cycle in Gainesville by hosting six official visitors over the weekend.
After adding Chris Steele to the list of early enrollees on Jan. 5, the Gators are in position to land another top-tier defensive back. Kaiir Elam, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound cornerback out of The Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, will give the Gators an official visit Saturday, as he looks to narrow his list before signing.
Elam, ranked the No. 7 defensive back in the 2019 class in the 247Sports composite, holds offers from a multitude of Power Five programs, but he appears to have narrowed his decision to UF, Georgia and Oregon with less than a month until putting pen to paper.
Mullen and Co. initially believed they’d have to fend off just Georgia — no small task, but not an inconceivable one — for Elam’s signature, but the Mario Cristobal-led Ducks have picked up their recruitment of Elam after failing to keep Steele on the West Coast.
In addition to defensive back, Mullen admitted the Gators needed to buoy the defensive line prior to signing day, and UF expects to do just that by hosting a pair of defensive linemen over the weekend.
Charles Moore initially pledged to Mullen on Aug. 19, 2017, while the UF coach was in Starkville at Mississippi State. After much contemplation and exploration throughout his senior season, Moore backed off his commitment to the Bulldogs on Jan. 7.
Moore, ranked the No. 7 defensive lineman, will take an official visit to UF over the weekend as he looks for a new landing spot. Landing Moore is far from a guarantee — Auburn remains in the mix as well to land the Louisville, Mississippi, native.
And 6-foot-6 defensive lineman Smith Vilbert out of St. Joseph Regional in Montvale, New Jersey, will round out the list of defensive linemen taking official visits to UF.
Vilbert had been trending in the direction of Penn State prior to the early signing period, but his recruitment remains open seemingly due to several programs coming into the mix late in the cycle.
Henderson shocked the world and committed to UF over FSU during the Army All-American game, and he’ll look to reaffirm that commitment when he arrives in Gainesville on Friday for an official visit. However, the Seminoles will get the final visit from the Richmond, Texas, native — meaning UF has its work cut out if they hope to sign the No. 12-ranked wide receiver prospect in the 2019 class by 247sports.
Standing at 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, offensive tackle Ira Henry has multiple top programs interested in his services, and he’ll take an official visit to UF over the weekend.
Henry will also visit FSU on Jan. 25 — a program that has a greater need for offensive linemen, considering the Gators have signed 11 offensive linemen in Mullen’s first 12 months at the helm.
Florida remains a likely landing spot for Wellington athlete Mark-Antony Richards, who seemingly narrowed his list to Penn State, UF and Auburn after Mark Richt abruptly departed Miami.
Richards, the brother of former ’Canes wide receiver Ahmmon Richards, was initially offered at running back by the Gators, but that was under the previous regime; it’s unclear just how Mullen would use the dynamic Richards, ranked the No. 3 athlete in the 2019 class by 247Sports.
More prospects will be visiting UF over the next four weeks than there are available scholarships; after a 10-3 inaugural season at UF, Mullen and the Gators have earned the privilege of choosing from multiple highly recruited prospects in the 2019 class.