UF Football National Signing Day Class of 2018

Top-100 overall recruit Jacob Copeland picked Florida over Alabama and Tennessee on Wednesday.

Florida coach Dan Mullen welcomes his first signee of the day.

Justin Watkins

Position: Wide receiver/Defensive back

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 172 pounds

High School: East Ridge (Clermont)

Ranking: A consensus four-star prospect, Watkins is ranked the No. 17 wide receiver by 247Sports and the No. 28 overall prospect in the 2018 class by ESPN.

How he fits in: Watkins is a dynamic athlete, and he could be a multi-tool at Florida. Once he arrives on campus, the expectation is the UF coaching staff will give him a look on both sides of the field, and his hands coupled with a knack for finding the football have him pegged as a strong contender to become more than just a rotational player in 2018. Certainly one to watch from the get-go.


Followed by these guys

Andrew Chatfield

Position: Outside linebacker

Height: 6-2

Weight: 221

High School: American Heritage (Plantation)

Ranking: A consensus four-star prospect, Chatfield is ranked the No. 21 weak-side defensive end by 247Sports and the No. 17 defensive end by ESPN.

How he fits in: Although he played on the line in high school, Chatfield is expected to transition to outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense, and his chances of seeing the field in 2018 are seemingly contingent upon his development at a new position. However, his athleticism and intelligence on the field could make him a breakout candidate early in his UF career.


Griffin McDowell

Position: Offensive lineman

Height: 6-4

Weight: 280

High School: Lee County (Leesburg, GA)

Ranking: A consensus three-star prospect, McDowell is ranked the No. 28 center by 247Sports and the No. 104 offensive guard by ESPN.

How he fits in: McDowell was a priority for UF coach Dan Mullen last season while at Mississippi State, and McDowell has the drive and work ethic to continue refining his craft. He’ll benefit greatly from a collegiate weight program, but McDowell has his work cut out if he’s to see the field as a freshman, although Florida’s lack of depth at center could make him a candidate for playing time in 2018.


Jacob Copeland

Position: Wide receiver

Height: 6-0

Weight: 192

High School: Escambia (Pensacola)

Ranking: A consensus four-star prospect, Copeland is ranked the No. 13 wide receiver by 247Sports and the No. 5 wide receiver by ESPN.

How he fits in: Considered by many to be the top wide receiver prospect in the state, Copeland gives the Gators a dynamic downfield threat with elite hands. Barring any unforeseen setbacks, Copeland should compete for early playing time in Florida’s wide-open wide receiver depth chart from the minute he arrives on campus in June.


Richard Gouraige

Position: Offensive lineman

Height: 6-5

Weight: 271

High School: Cambridge Christian School (Tampa)

Ranking: A consensus four-star prospect, Gouraige is ranked the No. 13 offensive lineman by 247Sports and the No. 6 offensive lineman by ESPN.

How he fits in: Gouraige has the size and skill-set to become a candidate for early playing time, but, like all freshmen, he has his work cut out for him. Considering he arrives at UF ranked higher than any other offensive lineman and can play at multiple positions on the line, don’t be surprised when Gouraige has worked his way into the rotation in 2018.


Malik Langham

Position: Strong-side defensive end

Height: 6-6

Weight: 269

High School: Lee High (Huntsville, Ala.)

Ranking: A consensus four-star prospect, Langham is ranked the No. 9 strong-side defensive end by 247Sports and the No. 55 defensive end by ESPN.

How he fits in: Langham’s best quality is his ideal frame for the position, and he’ll benefit from refining his talents under UF defensive line coach Sal Sunseri. Florida is deep on the end, however, meaning Langham has his work cut out to crack the rotation in 2018. But there was reason Alabama fought until the end to land his signature, and Langham’s football intelligence could get him on the field sooner rather than later.


    • I’m enthused – was prepared for things to not go as well as they seem to have. Either way, it takes scouting, recruiting, player development and time before anyone knows for sure. In the face of not just coaching changes, but major changes in approach, plus the loss of a very good prospect before things even started due to medical, and the rise of the competition in state, it looks to me like these coaches can recruit top players. This new coaching staff did more with less at Mississippi state etc. btw. Lets see what happens, in the meantime, lets welcome the new gators!

  1. Happy we were able to get one of the O-lineman from the state, we have got to work harder on the Front (both sides) lines. We seem to lose the best of the best from this state to outsiders. We have to stop this, OHIO STATE came in and got the best we had to offer as far as lineman go, I know this will be a priority with our coaches, I was just hoping against the odds we would pull it off this year with the NEW start, but “NEXT YEAR”. I have to say I think the coaching staff Did an OUTSTANDING job with the situation and time they had available to them. Thanks coaches for your HARD WORK, we really do appreciate you and all of your efforts!! GO GATORS!!!