Live updates: Gators football national signing day

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, also known as The Swamp

Florida closed out another successful National Signing Day under head coach Dan Mullen on Wednesday, as the Gators have welcomed 21 signees for the 2021 signing class.

The Gators’ list of signees incudes an emphasis on the defensive side of the ball, bring in 12 highly-regarded defensive players.

On offense, Florida continues to reload with talent as the Gators signed two quarterbacks, four pass catchers (2 WR’s/2 TE’s) and two offensive linemen.

Follow live:State of Florida Recruiting HQ: Top news and stories from the Early Signing Period

Wide receiver Trevonte Rucker (Ocala), athlete Charles Montgomery (Seffner), offensive tackle Javonte Gardner (Orlando), offensive tackle Adrein Strickland (Lynn Haven) and JUCO guard Deyavie Hammond (Independence, Kansas) have let it be known they will sign in February.

The early list:Florida football 2021 recruiting class

4:35 p.m. | Mitchell keeps pledge

Florida’s day is all done now with Dakota Mitchell’s announcement. He brought out the Alabama and Texas A&M hats in an apparent troll attempt, but Gators fans don’t have to worry as he’s sticking with his UF pledge. The safety backed off an earlier commitment to LSU and also had interest from Clemson and Arkansas prior to committing to Florida. There was a belief Mitchell would wait until February to sign with a program, but UF closed this recruitment on the final morning by getting Mitchell to sign early.

2:51 p.m. | Another QB

The second of Florida’s two signal-callers in the 2021 class has signed with the Gators. An Elite 11 finalist, which recognizes the top quarterback prospects each year, Carlos Del Rio-Wilson transferred from Grayson to play his senior season. Committed to Florida after participating at Friday Night Lights in 2019, Del Rio-Wilson will enroll early at Florida.

2:33 p.m. | Sapp a Gator

Florida has received a signed letter of intent from Tyreak Sapp. Sapp first committed to the Gators during Dan Mullen’s first month as head coach. Received significant interest from Alabama and Miami until the end of his recruitment. Will enroll early at Florida, more than two years after committing. 247Sports’ Andrew Ivins predicts Sapp has “NFL potential given athletic profile.”

2:13 p.m. | Black joins Gators

Diwun Black is officially a Gator, marking the conclusion of a long recruitment. Black first signed with the Gators as a member of the 2019 class, but he’d have to wait nearly two years to finalize his UF commitment after going the junior college route. Black stuck with it to the end — while helping recruit for Florida along the way – and now joins Florida as a member of the 2021 class. He’ll arrive on campus in January as an early enrollee. 

1:41 p.m. | Young signee

The Gators have signed Tampa defensive back Jordan Young. The 6-foot, 185-pounder committed to the Gators over offers from Alabama and Georgia. Young, who transferred from Tampa Jesuit prior to his senior season, will enroll early at Florida.

1:35 p.m. | The Chief in the house

Florida has received a signed letter of intent from linebacker Chief Borders. An Under Armour game invitee, Borders is ranked one of the top-150 prospects by ESPN. He also received scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. Borders, who participated in track and field events, including shot put and discus throw, will enroll early at Florida.

1:12 p.m. | DBU adds another

Corey Collier, Marshall’s teammate in Miami Palmetto’s defensive backfield, has now signed with the Gators as well. His father, Cornelius Collier, played defensive back at Florida State from 1999-2002. Signed with UF despite heavy interest from Miami and FSU. Collier, ranked a top-100 prospect by ESPN, also holds a scholarship offer from Clemson. Collier is enrolling early at Florida.

12:35 p.m. | Top get for Gators

After signing Marshall, the Gators landed another of their high-priority targets with the addition of Jeremiah Williams. A member of  the All-American Bowl roster, Williams decided at the last minute to sign early with the Gators. He received interest until the end from the Crimson Tide and initially announced he’d sign in February before a late change of heart. The defensive end is the No. 3 overall prospect in the 2021 class according to 247Sports.

12:05 p.m. | Top signee

Florida’s top-ranked signee in the class, Jason Marshall Jr. wasn’t just courted until the last minute by the 'Canes. Alabama and coach Nick Saban kept calling, but Marshall stuck with the Gators in the end. 247Sports’ Andrew Ivins says Marshall “should develop into a multi-year starter at the Power 5 level”. Marshall will enroll early at Florida. 

11:50 a.m. | QB depth

Florida has received a signed letter of intent from the first of their two committed signal-callers, as Jalen Kitna has put pen to paper and joined the program. Kitna transferred to Burleson from Frisco Reedy for his senior season to be coached by his father, former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna. Holds offers from Boston College and Arizona. A four-star prospect by ESPN, Kitna will enroll early at UF. 

11:41 a.m. | Justus will be served

 The Gators have officially signed three-star defensive lineman Justus Boone (6-5, 240). 247Sports writer Charles Power compares Boone’s game to that of Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive tackle Breeland Speaks. Joins UF despite significant interest from nearby University of South Carolina. Ranked the No. 2 prospect in the 2021 class out of South Carolina by ESPN. He’ll enroll early at UF.

9:39 a.m. | Letter load drops

The Gators received signed letters of intent within a 10-minute span from wide receivers Daejon Reynolds and Marcus Burke. With their pass-catchers in the fold, the Gators now await word from their quarterback commits, Carlos Del Rio-Wilson and Jalen Kitna.

9:27 a.m. | Trench troups

Defensive tackle Christopher Thomas has now sent in his letter of intent, giving the Gators back-to-back signees in the trenches. A three-star prospect out of Tallahassee, Thomas also received offers from Penn State, Miami and Florida State prior to the pandemic. He’ll enroll early in a few weeks, too.

8:37 a.m. | Huge help 

Three-star defensive tackle Desmond Watson (6-5, 385 pounds) is now officially a Gator after sending in his signed letter of intent. Watson, who joined the program back in July, gives the Gators a sizable presence along the defensive. Weighing in at 385 pounds, Watson also held scholarship offers from Alabama and Miami.

8:08 a.m. | More TEs

Florida's tight end room will be nuts this summer, even with the departure to the NFL by Kyle Pitts. Gators received the national letter from Jacksonville Episcopal tight end Nick Elksnis, a 6-6, 240-pound tight end ranked No. 14 in the country.

Jacksonville Episcopal High School tight end Nick Elksnis

7:55 a.m. | Tight end depth

Gators added the signature of Gage Wilcox, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound tight end from Tampa. Wilcox is the 249th-ranked recruit and the 10th-ranked tight end in the country.

The latest as the Gators prepare for Alabama

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7:37 a.m.: | OL help

Four-star offensive lineman Yousef Mugharbil is officially a new member of Florida’s class after sending in his signed letter of intent. The 6-foot-5 guard out of Murphy, North Carolina, is “tough, nasty and physical” according to Mullen. He plans on enrolling early at Florida in Spring.

Murphy sophomore Yousef Mugharbil is one of the nation's top recruits from the Class of 2021

7:31 a.m. | Special snapper

Florida’s commitment at long snapper, Rocco Underwood, has become the third prospect in the 2021 class to send in a signed letter of intent. The Lake Mary prospect also holds offers from the likes of Alabama and Arkansas, and he’s a member of the Polynesian Bowl roster. Mullen made sure to note the Gators believe they just signed the “best long snapper in the country”.

7:18 a.m.:  | Safety help

Now things are rolling, as safety Donovan McMillon has become the second UF commit to finalize their recruitment by the Gators. McMillon has sent in his signed letter of intent, Mullen confirmed, although it remains to be seen if he will also enroll early.

7:13 a.m. | New Sgt. Slaughter

As expected, that didn’t take long. The first signed letter of intent is in, and it’s from a local prospect – Trinity Catholic offensive lineman Jake Slaughter. Florida coach Dan Mullen announced Slaughter’s signing, adding “A leader up front!” to his message. One down, many more to go.

Trinity Catholic's Jake Slaughter (66) celebrates at touchdown against John Carroll in the second half of the 3A regional finals Nov. 27. Trinity Catholic beat the Rams 48-0 and move on to the state semifinals.

7:00 a.m. | Let's Go

Early Signing Day once again is upon us, and it’s sure to be a busy one for the Gators, albeit one likely lacking in surprises. Who will be the first Gators signee to send in their signed letter of intent? We will know soon.