Florida football: Gators a finalist for two top safeties deciding Wednesday

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
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Florida is expected to sign a half dozen commits Wednesday for the early signing period. 

A pair of top targets for the Gators will be making their decisions as well: five-star safety Kamari Wilson (Bradenton, Fla.) and four-star safety Devin Moore (Naples, Fla.). 

Moore will choose between UF and Notre Dame at 7:30 a.m., while Wilson is scheduled to announce on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. Wilson’s finalists are Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Texas A&M and LSU. 

The Gators are also attempting to flip Georgia commits Julian Humphrey (a former UF pledge) and Shone Washington, who officially visited this past weekend, while trying to hang on to four-star DL commit Chris McClellan. 

McClellan was the first recruit to receive an in-home visit from new coach Billy Napier and took another trip to Gainesville last weekend, but is considering a late switch to in-state Oklahoma. 

Florida’s 2020 recruiting class has lost six commitments since Napier’s hiring, but some of those departures did not want to work out for him so he could evaluate them before honoring their scholarship offer. 

During his introductory news conference, Napier cautioned that he wasn’t going to rush to sign recruits early. 

“I know everybody wants to pedal to the metal here and go a hundred miles an hour. But I think (recruiting) is the most important thing that we do,” Napier said. “For me, I think it's important in recruiting that both sides understand each other and have had time to build relationships, to have conversations, to know who is going to coach you, to fully understand what the plan is. So I think it goes both ways in that regard. 

“I think it’s an injustice to them and it’s an injustice to us to all of a sudden just hurry up and elope right here at the last second. We’re going to be very patient and I think we’ll position ourselves for after this signing day’s over. We’ll go see what's left out there and do the very best job we can do.”

This isnt the first time Napier has taken this approach. After his hiring at Louisiana four years ago, he didn’t sign any high school recruits during the early signing period. 

“They just didn’t do it,” ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill told The Sun. “They just said, ‘You know what, there’s not enough evidence right now, there's not enough of a sample size for us to feel like we can make logical educated decisions.’ And so, I think he's smart in the moves that he’s making right now. You're better off probably not just signing bodies to sign bodies. 

“I think his work ethic is going to be a big, big deal in all of this. The combination of having resources (at Florida), being in a talent-rich footprint, at a university that is marketable and has a high-level brand, that doesn’t mean that you can't outwork your peers. You're going to have to outwork your peers. I think 80 percent of the challenge here is Billy Napier and his staff just simply outworking people.” 

Napier said he plans to hire an army of recruiters that will be “unprecedented.” Some of those hires have been announced this week, but their impact won’t be felt until the first Wednesday in February. 

“You can expect us to be very conservative, very patient, trying to position ourselves for post-signing day to evaluate all the players that are left over, all the players in the transfer portal. And then when we do have our entire staff and organization put together, position ourselves for some really strong weekends in January, and then try to close strong in February,” Napier said.

“But reality is you’re getting in the game and there’s like three minutes left in the fourth quarter. And I think the last thing we need to do here is make some mistakes. So, I wouldn't be surprised if we don't sign many at all (in the early signing period), to be honest with you. But there may be a few out there that are willing to jump in here at the last minute.”

The only UF commit who won't sign Wednesday is three-star guard Jalen Farmer (Covington, Ga.), who plans to official visit in January.

New Florida coach Billy Napier will discuss his first recruiting class with the Gators at a Wednesday news conference.
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