If you’re a college football recruit and make an undramatic decision before signing day, you soon become old news in the eyes of many fans and members of the media.
This time of year, the potential flip-floppers and nationally televised announcements are what people care about.
In this particular recruiting cycle, however, that shouldn’t be at the forefront of the minds in Gator Nation. Rather than fixate on a few undecided or wavering recruits, celebrate the ones already on board.
In addition to running back Dalvin Cook and receiver Ermon Lane, the Gators have also landed their No. 1 targets at quarterback (Will Grier), tight end (DeAndre Goolsby), offensive tackle (David Sharpe) and defensive tackle (Khairi Clark).
Those were the four biggest positional needs this year, and UF met every one with the prospect it wanted most.
The Gators haven’t had an elite quarterback since Tim Tebow, the tight end position disappeared in 2013, consistent play at offensive tackle is still missing and Dominique Easley has yet to be replaced.
Florida has four players coming in at those positions with the potential to end those problems, and their importance cannot be emphasized enough.
Goolsby and Sharpe, who at times seemed like long shots for UF, committed to the coaching staff amid Florida’s losing season. The other two, Clark and Grier, never flinched on their pledges.
These four, along with cornerback Quincy Wilson, are not only solid, but they promote the program on social media. Their stance is shared by the majority of future Gators as well.
Florida has not had one member decommit from its 2014 class despite a 4-8 record and three assistants leaving. That’s pretty remarkable.
Nonetheless, the commitments of Cook and Lane are in question. Cook plans to make a final decision this week on ESPN, while Lane will wait on his until signing day. Athlete J.C. Jackson is another UF verbal who might go elsewhere.
Regardless of their reasons for looking around, they would have done so even if Florida went undefeated this season. They always planned to visit other schools, and uncertainty was inevitable with their recruitments.
Make no mistake, all three are dynamic players that could be difference makers in Gainesville. Missing out on them would be a big blow for the Gators.
But if that happens, it won’t kill Florida’s recruiting class or football team.
UF signed five receivers and two running backs last year, one of whom was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in Kelvin Taylor. Those two positions just aren’t major needs in this cycle, nor are they an issue on offense.
Moreover, five-star athlete Adoree’ Jackson and junior college receiver Eric Lauderdale are very high Florida, and the coaches continue to pursue more offensive and defensive linemen down the stretch.
The Gators could lose a commit or two and may not finish strong, but their top priorities have already been addressed. That’s what makes a successful recruiting class.