Gators expecting full slate of targets for spring game

Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

Florida’s 2020 class heads into Saturday’s spring game ranked No. 5 by 247Sports with nine commits, and the Gators are poised to rise even higher in the rankings by the conclusion of the event.

In addition to more than 60 unofficial visitors, UF will host two three-star prospects — Tampa tight end Jonathan Odom and Washington D.C. defensive back Mordecai McDaniel — on official visits Saturday.

McDaniel took an official visit to Notre Dame last weekend, and, despite the three-star designation, holds scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Penn State, among others.

Odom’s visit, meanwhile, comes a week after the 6-foot-5 tight end prospect took an official visit to LSU for the Tigers’ spring game.

Odom comes from a well-known pedigree and should be familiar to UF fans, too, as his father, Jason Odom, was a four-year starter at Florida from 1992-1995 on Steve Spurrier’s offensive line. Odom was later inducted into the University of Florida’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.

While UF’s coaching staff will no doubt have its hands full with the practice and official visitors, they’ll also look to continue recruiting several top prospects arriving in Gainesville for unofficial visits.

The Gators will seemingly battle Clemson to sign one of the nation’s top running back prospects, Lakeland’s Demarkcus Bowman. The 5-foot-11 rusher named UF his leader earlier in the cycle, but the Tigers have risen to the top as of late and appear poised to land Bowman’s commitment. Yet the Gators won’t let Bowman slip away without putting up a fight, and it’s likely UF’s coaching staff goes all-in on the five-star in-state prospect.

Xzavier Henderson, a 6-foot-2 wide receiver out of Miami’s Columbus High, will make the trip north to watch his older brother CJ start in Florida’s secondary. A four-star prospect in the 2020 class, the younger Henderson has seen his recruiting profile rise over the past few months, and he, too, has Clemson in hot pursuit.

The nation’s No. 2-ranked athlete, Darnell Washington, has indicated his intention to travel from Las Vegas to Gainesville for Saturday’s scrimmage. Ranked the No. 18 overall prospect in 247Sports’ composite rankings, Washington has expanded his recruitment as of late after seeming bound for UCLA earlier in the cycle. While UF isn’t expected to land a commitment from Washington over the weekend, the Gators now appear to be in prime position to land Valdosta (Ga.) athlete Jaheim Bell, who seemed poised to commit to Florida State last weekend before a late change of heart.

Florida will host Apopka defensive tackle Jalen Carter on an unofficial visit, perhaps in an attempt to steer the four-star prospect away from rivals Miami and FSU. Carter last visited Gainesville on Sept. 8, 2018, and UF’s in-state rivals have since made up much ground with the 6-foot-4 lineman.

The Gators have a brighter outlook when it comes to landing four-star offensive lineman Jalen Rivers. Ranked the No. 13 offensive lineman in the 2020 class by 247Sports’ composite ranking, Rivers was last on UF’s campus on Feb. 2, and ensuing visits to FSU and Auburn didn’t unseat the Gators as one of the team’s to beat for his signature.

When it comes to improving on Saturday, Florida expects to boost the current crop of Gators while searching for the next men up.


  1. Lots and lots and lots of recruits coming in today to the O&B Game.

    Btw folks, despite that 28,000 attendance number fsu announced for their spring game last week, it was more like 15,000, and many were students who got in for free, and local home town fans.

    We significantly out-recruited fsu in our last class, so lets widen that margin even more this next class.