UF hosts more than two-dozen prospects on first day of in-person recruiting
Once again, you could see — and smell — BBQ smoke coming from Florida’s indoor practice facility Tuesday.
Gale Lemerand Drive was overrun with golf carts.
Recruiting was back at the University of Florida.
With a 15-month-long dead period due to COVID-19 finally ending June 1, the Gators hosted prospects on campus for the first time since March 2020.
“It didn't even feel real,” Atlanta four-star running back Damari Alston said of the visit. “Like, we're back on campus. It felt good.”
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Alston was one of several UF targets who made their way to Gainesville on the first day of in-person contact in this cycle. More than two dozen 2022 and 2023 recruits attended a BBQ in the IPF, met with the staff and toured the campus and facilities.
Some also worked out with the coaches, including Alston and Gators quarterback commit Nick Evers (Flower Mound, Texas). Evers, one of over a dozen official visitors expected this weekend, worked out Tuesday morning with primary recruiter and future position coach, Garrick McGee.
“I had a little 30-minute session to show [McGee] a little sneak peek of what I can do. He thought I did pretty good. He gave me a few coaching points in some footwork drills and then Coach [Dan] Mullen saw me a little bit,” Evers said following his first unofficial visit to Florida.
“I enjoyed everything, just meeting all the guys in person. I’m excited to get out here for the official visit this weekend and meet more guys.”
Evers had his recruiting cap on Tuesday, speaking with wide receiver Jayden Gibson and running back Terrance Gibbs. Both targets from Winter Park, Fla., hold a four-star rating from 247Sports.
“I’m always trying to rep Florida, just telling them this is the place to be,” Evers said. “I think everyone enjoyed themselves in the pictures with the uniforms, helmets and everything.
"It was just super positive vibes. Everyone's just excited to get out. I feel like the first date of everything opening up, Florida's just setting the tone for us. It’s going to be a hard place to beat.”
The Gators are the team to beat right now for Gibbs, who had them in front heading into the visit. Tuesday’s trip only solidified Florida’s standing with the top-200 overall prospect.
“I really like how they make you feel like you’re at home,” said Gibbs, who plans to visit LSU and Tennessee before making a decision at the end of June. “Florida’s still leading. It was just good to come out here and see everyone. The coaches keep them up there.”
The other top targets in town included five-star defensive end Mykel Williams (Columbus, Ga.), four-star defensive lineman Jamari Lyons (Melbourne, Fla.), four-star wide receiver Isaiah Horton (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), three-star wide receiver Chandler Smith (Orlando, Fla.) and three-star defensive backs Jaquise Alexander (Tampa), Nick Cull (Donalsonville, Ga.) and Devin Moore (Naples, Fla.).
Horton also named UF his top school Tuesday, while the Gators improved their chances with Williams.
“It was good. I had a real great time. I enjoyed my visit. I saw just about everything,” said Williams, who called Florida “relentless” in pursuing him. “I talk to Coach [David] Turner and Coach Mullen. Right now, I’m loving the vibe I’m getting from them.”