The 2019 iteration of Florida’s annual Friday Night Lights recruiting showcase is set to be a consequential one.
After opening preseason camp in the morning, the Gators will return to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for the football program’s largest recruiting event of the cycle.
UF coach Dan Mullen and the Gators coaching staff will welcome multiple highly recruited prospects in the 2020 class, in addition to several rising underclassmen prospects, to The Swamp for the festivities, set to kick off at 7 p.m. today.
When it comes to Florida’s committed prospects, 10 have indicated intentions to attend Friday’s showcase, including local Eastside quarterback Anthony Richardson and Ocala Vanguard wide receiver Leonard Manuel. In addition to the two local commits, the Gators expect to welcome defensive lineman Gervon Dexter, linebacker Derek Wingo, cornerback Avery Helm and wide receiver JaQuavion Fraziars back to Gainesville for the showcase. Offensive linemen Richie Leonard and Gerald Mincey plan on making the trip, too, as does committed tight end Jonathan Odom and safety Rashad Torrence II.
But — with all due respect to the prospects already committed to Florida — Friday is about building on Florida’s highly ranked 2020 class.
Two prospects high on UF’s board — offensive lineman Marcus Dumervil and running back Keyvone Lee — indicate they’ll be on campus come Friday night. Still in need of a commitment from a premier running back, Florida is looking to get Lee back in the fold after the 6-foot athlete backed off his UF pledge on Feb. 22.
The Gators also expect to get a crack at flipping Jahquez Robinson and Tim Smith, a pair of prospects committed to Alabama.
A highly rising cornerback out of Jacksonville, Robinson committed to the Crimson Tide back on Feb. 18, but that hasn’t stopped UF from him. Smith’s pledge, however, is far more fresh. Ranked the No. 13 defensive tackle in the 2020 class by 247Sports, Smith committed to Alabama on July 17, but the 6-foot-4, 340-pound Sebastian River native doesn’t plan on shutting down his recruitment any time soon.
Along with the commits and 2020 targets expected in Gainesville, the Gators will take on another vital endeavor — building relationships with prospects in the 2021, 2022 and 2023 classes. Considering the top-ranked classes often get highly recruited prospects in the fold sooner than later, Friday could pay dividends when it comes to building on Florida’s already-promising recruiting classes of the near future.
Miami Palmetto defensive back Corey Collier, regarded as one of the top cornerbacks in the 2021 class, intends on making the trip north for Friday Night Lights, and he’ll have teammate Jason Marshall in tow. The two lockdown cornerbacks are ranked No. 3 and No. 5 in 247Sports’ cornerback rankings, respectively, and both have the Gators high on their lists of prospective programs.
Five-star defensive end Dylan Brooks, ranked the No. 1 weak-side defensive end and the No. 23 overall prospect in the 2020 class by 247Sports, has indicated he’ll make the trip south from Roanoke, Alabama, to Gainesville.
And, as Florida fans know all too well, you often need a top-ranked quarterback to compete in the SEC, and the Gators expect to host highly rated 2021 signal-caller Carlos Del Rio, in addition to in-state 2022 quarterback Gunnar Smith. The 6-foot-3 Del Rio is ranked the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the 247Sports rankings, although he’s regarded as a dual-threat prospect at the next level. Gators quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson hasn’t made his interest in Del Rio a secret, and many expect the Powder Springs, Georgia, native to give the Gators a serious look as he searched for his collegiate destination.
With multiple commits, uncommitted prospects and future top-ranked talent bound for Gainesville, Friday could be a momentous occasion for the future of UF’s football program.
Prospects expected to attend:
WR JaQuavion Fraziars
DL Gervon Dexter
CB Avery Helm
OLB Derek Wingo
OL Richie Leonard
QB Anthony Richardson
WR Leonard Manuel
OT Gerald Mincey
S Rashad Torrence
TE Jonathan Odom
OLB Derek Wingo
OT Marcus Dumervil
RB Keyvone Lee
DT Tim Smith
DB Jahquez Robinson
WR Trevonte Rucker (former UF commit)
WR Kentron Poitier
ATH Tae Williams
DE Dylan Brooks
CB Corey Collier
DL Bryce Langston (former UF commit)
CB Jason Marshall
DB Kamar Wilcoxson (former UF commit)
DL Savion Collins
QB Carlos Del Rio
RB Brashard Smith
2022 QB Gunnar Smith
2022 RB Isaiah Gordon
2023 QB Raheim Jeter