Wide receiver is one of the top needs for Florida in the 2016 recruiting cycle with four current players at the position expected to leave after this season.
Raphael Andrades, Latroy Pittman and Valdez Showers are seniors, and junior Demarcus Robinson — UF’s best wideout — seems headed for an early NFL departure.
Fortunately for the Gators, there are several options at WR for 2016 as they try to land at least five commitments.
Two recruits are already in place with the pledges from Rick Wells (6-0, 187) and Isaiah Johnson (6-3, 190), an early enrollee who caught seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns at his spring game Friday with Florida receivers coach Kerry Dixon on the sidelines watching.
Consensus four-star WR Josh Imatorbhebhe (6-2, 205), one of UF’s top priorites, committed to Southern Cal on Monday. He’s the younger brother of Gators true freshman tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe.
While Imatorbhebhe will be viewed as one that got away, more than a dozen receivers are viable targets for Florida.
Atop the list is five-star Nate Craig-Myers (6-2, 198) of Tampa Catholic. He decommitted from Auburn earlier this month, and his recruitment could become an in-state battle between Florida and Florida State.
No. 2 on the board is likely Niceville’s Eli Stove, who visited UF twice in the spring but looks to be leaning toward Auburn. Viera’s Tre Nixon (6-1, 170) and Freddie Swain (6-1, 174) from Citra North Marion are four-star receivers showing a lot of interest in Florida.
The Gators then have a handful of possibilities in South Florida, most notably Sam Bruce (5-8, 185) and Binjimen Victor (6-4, 173).
Bruce, a speedy slot receiver, has made a soft (more like shaky) verbal commitment to Miami and is very close with incoming running back recruit Jordan Scarlett, his high school teammate at St. Thomas Acquinas. Victor holds more than 40 offers out of Coconut Creek but appears to be Florida’s to lose at this time.
Joshua Hammond (6-1, 180), Cavin Ridley (6-1, 190) and Keyshawn Young (5-11, 185) are other South Florida receivers who could fall UF’s way.
The Gators also have some out-of-state options in Tyrie Cleveland (Houston, Texas/Westfield), Trevon Diggs (Gaithersburg, Md./The Avalon School) and JUCO WR Taj Williams (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Iowa Western C.C.). Cleveland (6-3, 190) is teammates with Florida QB target Dillon Sterling-Cole, Diggs (6-2, 182) is the younger brother of former five-star recruit Stefon Diggs and Williams (6-3, 180) played his high school ball at Tallahassee Lincoln.
Eddie McDoom (5-11, 170) has named the Gators his leader and is teammates at Winter Garden West Orange with Florida offensive tackle commit Stone Forsythe. New targets will also continue to emerge such as Jacksonville First Coast wide receiver Kevin Stepherson (6-2, 180), who was offered by UF in late April.
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