2017 LB James Houston commits to Gators at Friday Night Lights

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Talent and potential were abundant at Florida’s Friday Night Lights, and UF’s 2017 class left with a highly recruited in-state prospect.

Three-star American Heritage linebacker James Houston verbally committed to the Gators, bringing Florida’s 2017 class to 11 verbal commitments, and UF handed multiple prospects scholarship offers.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Houston has long had the Gators near the top of his list despite recently receiving increased interest from multiple Power Five programs.

After Thursday’s “Next Level Quarterback Camp” and Sophomore Night, registration began at 2 p.m. for the annual recruiting event.

Quarterbacks continued throwing in the indoor practice facility Friday until dusk before the camp moved drills to under the lights of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Among the signal callers on display Friday was UF commit Jake Allen out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale.

The four-star pro-style quarterback said he enjoyed working with his future college coaches, and having his personal quarterback coach, former Gators QB Eric Kresser, on hand made the experience memorable.

“The staff was awesome, just learning from all the guys out here,” Allen said. “It was good just hanging around those guys, being a sponge.”

But the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder wasn’t strictly in Gainesville for instruction.

He said he spent portions of Thursday and Friday trying to sway multiple recruits with offers from Florida to join the Gators.

Allen said he was “preaching to in-state guys to stay in state.”

“You want to go home on a weekend and go experience mom’s cooking, then you can go home,” Allen said. “Rep your state. And to out-of-state guys, ‘come play in The Swamp’.”

Friday Night Lights also helped highly recruited Clearwater running back Adarius Lemons, a verbal commitment to the University of North Carolina, narrow his list to two programs.

“Right now it’s just Florida and UNC,” Lemons said. “I’m going to be looking at a couple of things, and see how well (the teams) do.

“The biggest thing is me getting the right help, the proper help.”

And four-star Deerfield Beach wide receiver Jerry Jeudy displayed the skills that impressed scouts at Nike’s The Opening in early July.

Nearing the end of Friday’s event, Jeudy put a move on Miami commit Akeem Dent and came down with a long pass from Allen. The stadium roared as campers and Gators players showered Jeudy in cheers as the camp drew to an end.

He called the move the highlight of his trip while narrowing his top-two to Alabama and the Gators, but he said there’s “a couple more in the list.”

“I just did it naturally,” Jeudy said of the move on Dent. “I’ve always had (good footwork) since I stepped in to high school. I just do what I got to do.”

Florida appeared to leave a significant impression on Concord (N.C.) 2017 safety Hamsah Nasirildeen. Nasirildeen has already received offers from the Gators, Florida State and the Crimson Tide, but he said UF made a lasting impression.

Nasirildeen – who visited UF in April for the Orange and Blue Debut Game — said he enjoyed working with UF defensive backs coach Torrian Gray and getting another look at UF’s facilities.

“Coach Gray has just told me he could develop me,” Nasirildeen said. “And (Coach Jim McElwain) is always telling me to keep smiling.”

Following an impressive display Thursday, Old Bridge (N.J.) quarterback Artur Sitkowski and Bishop Gorman (Nev.) quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, rising prospects in the 2018 class, received offers from the Gators after they left campus. UF also offered 2019 Hightower (Tex.) defensive end Derrick McLendon.

Florida’s Friday Night Lights camp concludes Saturday with an offensive/defensive lineman camp followed by a 7v7 tournament.