Since nice haul Wednesday, Gators receive mixed news on recruiting trail

Special to Gatorsports.com
Jacksonville Trinity Christian Academy lineman Austin Barber signs with Florida on Friday.

Since producing a top-10 football recruiting class on the first day of the early-signing period Wednesday, Florida has received mixed news heading to the February signing date.

Orlando Jones High School's Javonte Gardner, a consensus four-star offensive lineman who said he would sign with the Gators in February instead decommitted Thursday in favor of Jackson State. The 6-foot-5, 320 pound standout held offers from Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska and a host of other Power 5 programs. Gardner is the No. 42 ranked recruit out of the state of Florida and No. 32 ranked offensive tackle in the country.

Committing to Florida in December of 2019, Gardner instead decided to go with coach Deion Sanders, the former FSU and multi-sport pro star, at Jackson State.

Florida moved quickly Friday to replace the offensive lineman by signing to a national letter of intent Austin Barber, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound three star from Jacksonville Trinity Christian Academy. Barber, a member of the Florida Times-Union's Super 11, had de-committed from Minnesota in November. Trinity Christian teammate wide receiver Marcus Burke signed with UF on Wednesday.

On Friday evening, Gators lost a commitment from 2021 four-star wide receiver Charles Montgomery of Seffner (Fla.) Armwood High School, who announced via Twitter, "After a long talk with my family I've decided that I will be de-committing from the University of Florida. I'm sorry Gator Family."

The Gators lost an opportunity at an area standout later Friday evening when Bryce Langston, a four-star defensive end from Ocala, signed his letter of intent with LSU. Langston is a top-150 prospect and the 12th-ranked strongside defensive end who had offers from Florida, Florida State and Auburn among others.

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

These are the Gators' national signings (21) for the first day of early signing day Wednesday:

Diwun Black, OLB, 6-3, 226, Mississippi Gulf Coast CC

Justus Boone, sde, 6-5, 250, Sumter, Sumter, S.C.

Chief Borders, olb, 6-5, 242, Heard County, Carrollton, Ga.

Marcus Burke, wr, 6-3, 180, Trinity Christian Academy, Jacksonville, Fla.

Corey Collier, s, 6-2, 170, Miami Palmetto, Miami, Fla.

Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, pro, 6-3, 215, Cartersville, Cartersville, Ga.

Nick Elksnis, te, 6-6, 220, Episcopal, Jacksonville, Fla.

Jalen Kitna, pro, 6-4, 200, Burleson, Burleson, Texas

Jason Marshall, cb, 6-2, 180, Miami Palmetto, Miami, Fla.

Donovan McMillon, s, 6-2, 193, Peters Township, Canonsburg, Pa.

Dakota Mitchell, s, 6-0, 185, Winter Park, Winter Park, Fla.

Yousef Mugharbil, og, 6-4.5, 304, Murphy, Murphy, N.C.

Daejon Reynolds, wr, 6-2, 210, Grayson, Loganville, Ga.

Tyreak Sapp, sde, 6-2.5, 255, St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Jake Slaughter, oc, 6-4, 300, Trinity Catholic, Ocala, Fla.

Christopher Thomas, dt, 6-6, 290, Dunbar, Fort Myers, Fla.

Rocco Underwood, te, 6-4, 220, Lake Mary, Lake Mary, Fla.

Desmond Watson, dt, 6-5, 380, Armwood, Seffner, Fla.

Gage Wilcox, te, 6-4, 228, Jefferson, Tampa, Fla.

Jeremiah Williams, wde, 6-3, 224, Ramsay, Birmingham, Ala.

Jordan Young, cb, 6-0, 185, Gaither, Tampa, Fla.