4-star ATH commits to Gators 2020 class

Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen talks to his team during open practice on March 12, 2019. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

Florida keeps reaping the benefits of the 2nd annual Gator Grill Out.

Joel Williams, a 6-foot-1, 194-pound athlete/defensive back out of Madison Prep Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, verbally committed to the Gators and coach Dan Mullen following an unofficial visit to Florida.

I’ll never look back…I’m trying to feed my family forever….

COMMITTED…#GatorGangXX pic.twitter.com/7U11YtAj4d— Joel Williams🌹 (@sayyjoee) May 19, 2019

The No. 13-ranked athlete in the 2020 class by the 247Sports composite ranking, Williams announced a final three of LSU, Tennessee and Florida, with many speculating the four-star prospect would either commit to Tennessee or stay in-state and play for the Tigers. But a strong recruiting push throughout the spring by the Gators led Williams to shut his recruitment down Sunday and become the 12th member of Florida’s 2020 class.

After picking up two commitments in as many days, Florida’s recruiting class has moved back up to No. 5 in the 247Sports class rankings.


  1. It’s a long, long haul before this class is locked in and some choices impact others. I’d be willing to bet that Steele’s exit had a huge impact on this kid’s commitment now. He sees a real opportunity to get early playing time now.

    Whatever the reason for these commitments now, kudos to CDM and his coaching staff.

    GO GATORS!!!

    • It’s good to see the 2020 class so highly ranked, but as you said, it’s a long haul. We should temper our excitement over the 2020 class and our disappointment over the 2021 class accordingly.

      • Joe, you are spot on here. This far out you are dealing with mostly 17 year old kids and even some 16 year old’s for 2021. It is great to get these commitments this early in the process, but look them with a wary eye for now. Go Gators!

        • Tempering my excitement as we speak guys. NOT!

          Hey, a fella has got to have something to live for on this mortal coil, doesn’t he? Good grief, Joe and Dan — I’m three full days older than dirt, my hair is thinning, parts don’t work, can’t remember squat or even how to spell it, chicks don’t dig me like they used to, I’ve long since lost my special powers and I’ve even forgotten what they were or even if I ever had them to begin with………and now you guys want me to temper my excitement over 2020 when I predicted we’ll be in the play-offs or close to it by then?

          OK, I’ll try — but I ain’t promisin’ nuthin’. 😎

          • Hey 6, you cranky ORF, chill my friend. Not suggesting that you or
            anyone else temper their excitement for next season. I also think it will be a great one. Just suggesting that the recruiting class for 2020, which will not impact next season’s results, be viewed with some caution as it is early (for every school!) and a lot can happen with these kids between now and the early signing day in December. Besides, Clemson seems to be getting commitments from ALL the 5 star kids, leaving the rest of us poor teams scrounging for those crummy 4 star and 3 star players! note: sarcasm alert!

          • Well, 6, when you put it that way, get as excited as you want! It is nice to have reason to be excited for a change, and I guess you might as well smoke ’em if ya got ’em.

          • Well guys, I can’t get too excited — not good for the old blood pressure you know. Cryin’ shame, there’s just no way to age gracefully but I sure don’t want to go the route Pat Boone took! That said, ZZ Top are still my heroes.

  2. Again nothing really counts until these young men put pen to paper. Also – not dead yet…just dealing with chronic pain from years of abusing my body. Nothing I can’t handle. We all can be thankful that there is something to read about in the off season. Most good and some maybe disappointing. Remember we don’t want humans here that don’t want to be here. That is a no win situation all around. In the mean time I want to thank Graham Hall for anything he can share with us. Keep up the awesome job you are doing. GO GATORS!!!

    • Glad to hear you’re still hanging in there, Ed. Most of us should have treated our bodies better when we were younger…oh the wisdom of hindsight.
      On recruiting, it’s almost to the point with transferring that it’s hard to get excited even when the kids sign. It’s truly a wait and see who actually plays for us.

      • Sparky – its kind of like waiting in line at Wally World and the register next to you looks like it is moving faster, so you move over. Now, your move was bad because no matter where you are it is that line that is moving the slowest…LOL. This is an analogy to the transfer system. If a young man sees that he may not get starting time right away, and he might at another school, so then he believes he stands a better chance to start elsewhere. It may be slowest to develop him as a player like he would here, but he is good enough to start there. Also, it could work in our favor at times when someone sees an opportunity to play for the mighty GATORS, then he may opt to transfer here. Like you stated, it is a wait and see game. GO GATORS!!!
        Now as far as our bodies – I would still work hard and play hard, so I would still end up a broke Johnson…LOL. GO GATORS!!!

    • It is what it is, Ed; I’m just glad you’re still ornery and still kickin’. Don’t forget tho — a good deal of that body abuse came at the hands of Uncle Sam, in places most folks can’t spell let alone want to serve in. I know you’d do it all over again — I would too — but it’s somebody else’s turn, so sit back, relax, and enjoy this season! And let us know next time you check out of the net for so long!

      • Gator-6 – U R right! I miss the traveling that I used to do, but my traveling days are gone and now I am in the “BIG SCREEN TV” phase of my life…LMAO. It sounds like the choppers are in my house flying from one side to the other. Anywho, I just bought myself a new John Deere riding mower with attachments. I don’t have the attachments yet, but as I age I am working smarter and not harder…LOL. GO GATORS!!!

        • Hey man, welcome to the John Deere family! I’ve got a 2023 tractor with a front loader and 60″ belly mower, and the lovely Gator-3 has her own D-130 mower. I do the hard stuff and she has a blast on the grass, but while out on the back-40 I get to smoke all the cigars I can stand without her scrutinizing eyes on me! Expensive fix, but worth every penny.

  3. What? Did Williams miss all the mudslinging coming out of G’ville? Or did he make his decision rationally based on what CDM and his staff are doing to build a championship caliber team and wants to be a part of it? Who knows? But hold your breathe until the ink is dry and then hope we don’t have another Jalon Jones in the apple barrel.

    • Clearly he forgot to consult with the Sun’s crack experts about how the program was doomed and would probably shut down for good. Haha. Agreed on the wait until signing day, but I have no doubt Mullen and company will bring in another great class.

      • Or with the overly pessimistic, “oh woe are we” Gator fans, to include those that Galvez references below! Enough already……get a grip…..at least tone it down until we at least play a few games this fall and see how all this spring nonsense effects us, if at all. Oy!

  4. When they commit….Great get! When they decommit….no big loss!

    Over and Over.

    The LA recruit gave us a “surprise” commit over favorites TN and LSU. Let’s see if we can hang on to him.

    I want FL recruit commits. Why are we working so hard on recruiting kids out of state and not able to keep more of the in state kids? Are florida recruits that bad?

    • D Smith…I think people weren’t losing it this early in the process…ESPECIALLY the 2021 cats. Case in point…here are 2 more for this year. You’re right….let’s see what happens, but that goes both ways.

    • David, with the internet and every game being on TV nowadays, that imaginary line drawn in the dirt a couple hundred years ago isn’t nearly important as it used to be. Durn, people get in a car and drive a hundred miles round trip now just to eat a fancy dinner. I’m afraid your days of kids wanting to stay in-state may be coming to an end.

  5. I doubt we will really know anything about any recruiting class on the last day of the national signing in Feb either. It isn’t just about getting commits. It’s about getting kids to stick these days. Not transferring. Not getting arrested or kicked out of school. Qualifying. Making grades. Injuries. We will know in about 2-3 years how good 65% of this class will be, because a third won’t make it or pan out. People get too caught up in recruiting rankings, which to me is more entertainment than reality. And part of that entertainment is counting stars and watching others judge a class primarily on that. We just had two 5 stars not drafted and a 2 star who will soon become a millionaire. We’ve been conditioned for so long by ESPN and the recruiting sites that we actually think Mel Kiper was an All-Pro QB who ended his career when he got drunk one night and stuck his tongue in an electrical outlet. We have a lot of good coaching at Florida now. I have heard that from friends who are pro scouts. Our strength coach is a marketing tool for our recruiting. Pro teams respect him. He is turning 2 stars into 4-5 star athletes. And Coach Mullen and his other coaches know a thing or two also. I think most of our guys who stay, stay healthy and out of jail and in the classroom, will be a star up by the time they start.

  6. And just like that, all is well in Gator Land again.

    We lost a kid to JUCO (who will be back next year), and a kid to transfer because he was homesick, and then the doom and gloomers started in with predictions of the apocalypse. As for kids two years out de-committing, kids commit and de-commit all the time.

    • The biggest complaint you will continue to hear is the lack of 5* players committing to us. UGA now has more on their roster than the rest of the SEC East combined. The grumblings will continue until Mullen is able to beat the dawgs on the field. Simple as that. Go Gators

      • You are absolutely right. But no one can avoid the grumblings. It is a fact of life. What if we signed 10 5 star athletes and lost to Georgia? Or didn’t win the NC. It would be another reason to grumble. For many, nothing short of perfection will stop the grumblings. So who gives a damn?

  7. I want to thank every poster on here. The quality of discourse is so much better than it used to be. I don’t post often but I read every comment. Thanks for the level headed sanity. It sure has helped walk me off the ledge the last couple of weeks.

    • Galvez, MW is still reeling from his noles loss last year and missing a bowl game. Playing in a bowl every year no matter what importance gas helped them in recruiting but coaching and culture finally caught up. He’s hiding waiting to throw some jabs later.

  8. Hmm, could the Mullen grill out sauce have rekindled the spinning of the wheels of (recruiting) momentum? I agree that momentum ultimately occurs on the field, but I am not sure that the notion of momentum in regard to recruiting is an oxymoron. Keep it up on all fronts CDM, and coach em up as few can like you can. Go Gators!

  9. Hey Galvezgator, I don’t know you and you don’t know me. I am new on this forum and you may disagree with everything I have to say, but that’s ok. I don’t know what you mean in your post above, but as one Gator to another, are you ok?

    • Thanks for asking. I’m great. I was referring to the doom and gloom GATOR fans out there who turn every mole hill of bad news into a mountain of disaster. The last few weeks have had several pieces of bad news. The cumulative effect among many GATOR fans has been that we have reached “peak Mullen” and it’s all down hill from here. Just read blogs and forums and other social media sights and it’s easy to get into a bad GATOR mood. Since I live outside Baton Rouge Louisiana in the community of Galvez (hence Galvezgator) I appreciate the perspective of the posters on this site. You are blessed to be new to the sight so you are ignorant of so much that passed for commentary in years past. My few comments are usually sarcastic jabs at former posters who were never satisfied with any coach or player in the program.
      I am thrilled with the direction of the program under CDM. I am a proud GATOR alum (1989) living in more or less happy exile in boudin land. Go Gators. BEAT LSU!

      • Hot boudain, cold cous cous……c’mon Gators, poush poush poush! (with apologies to LSU). I went to grad school up in Natchitoches. There’s two of you in or around Baton Rouge now. Mikey will be back, you can make book on it. But we’ve got to do better about automatically labeling loyal Gators as FSU trolls just because they have a different point of view — I hope that nonsense is in the past too. (although I don’t mind taking ’em to task either — sarcastically, smarmy, or snarky — when it hits critical mass!) Hope you keep posting again……and keep you’re eyes on them %$@#$ cajuns down there!

  10. No need to elevate the orange and blue blood pressure over a recruiting class. Our program is in good hands with Coach Mullen.

    We’re better off without a player or coach that can’t make a total commitment to the program.