As Florida’s premier recruiting showcase — Friday Night Lights — commences, the Gators and Dan Mullen have an opportunity to regain some momentum on the trail after a lackluster period.
Mullen’s first FNL will feature some of the rising 2020 prospects on Florida’s radar, as well as nearly all of the 2019 commits and several high profile uncommitted 2019 targets.
The camp portion of the event will begin at 4 p.m. at the Indoor Practice Facility before moving to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
While the event will be focused on the camp aspect, the Gators will look to target two top 2019 targets who would change the trajectory of the current recruiting class: tight end Keon Zipperer and outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux.
The two elite prospects symbolize UF’s recent recruiting philosophy: Thibodeaux, from Thousand Oaks, California, is perceived to be a long shot, while Zipperer has maintained a desire to leave the state of Florida. Both continue to receive ample recruiting resources, however.
If Florida can further the relationship, it’s a no-brainer for the Gators coaching staff to prioritize landing a high-value target. But if they can’t, FNL will likely regain the camp atmosphere after several years of blue chip targets on display — most of whom opted to sign elsewhere.
UF’s 2019 quarterback commit, Jalon Jones, will make the trip from Maryland for the event, as will fellow commits Ja’Markis Weston, Dionte Marks, Wardrick Wilson, Ethan White, Jaelin Humphries, Tyron Hopper, Jammal Abrams and Trent Whittemore.
In addition to Zipperer and Thibodeaux, the Gators expect to host four-star defensive backs Kaiir Elam, Brendan Gant and Chester Kimbrough — all players who have shown a heavy interest in Florida throughout their recruitments.
Ole Miss commit Diwun Black and four-star linebacker Lloyd Summerall have also expressed intentions to make the trip to Gainesville, as Mullen has continued to recruit the duo since leaving the state of Mississippi.
The Gators also expect to see 2020 Eastside High quarterback Anthony Richardson throw at the event. Richardson recently picked up a UF offer after camping in the spring.
Finally, UF will seek to build relationships with four five-star prospects in the 2020 class: Bryan Bresee, the No. 1 player in the 2020 class by 247Sports, defensive back Fred Davis, linebacker Justin Flowe and linebacker Sav’ell Smalls.