Florida Gators football to host elite prospects for annual spring scrimmage

Graham Hall
Gator Sports
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Given its Thursday night kickoff, Florida’s Orange and Blue game should be well-attended by highly touted prospects in the 2023 recruiting class. 

Of the prospects expected in Gainesville, defensive back Cormani McClain is the top-ranked player of the group. A five-star prospect and the No. 4 overall player in the 2023 class, according to 247Sports, McClain has long had the Gators heavily in the mix in his recruitment, though he has yet to pull the trigger on a commitment. Alabama, Miami and Ohio State are among the numerous Power-Five programs vying for McClain, but the Gators have a long-standing relationship on their side with the defender out of Lakeland. In announcing his intention to visit UF for the spring game, McClain referred to Florida as “home” on his Twitter account.

Lake Gibson defensive back Cormani McClain (7) intercepts a pass during a game against Winter Haven in 2020.

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Samuel M’Pemba making second trip to Gainesville

He’ll be joined by another top-ranked prospect in Samuel M’Pemba, ranked by 247Sports as the No. 27 overall player in the 2023 class. M’Pemba, a 6-foot-4 athlete out of St. Louis currently at IMG Academy, has visited a multitude of programs throughout the spring, from Miami to Missouri, and even up to Notre Dame and Michigan. He’s made it clear he’s not narrowing his collegiate destination to just the state of Florida, or even one conference, and M’Pemba will now make his second trip in six weeks to Gainesville to take in the Gators’ spring game. 

DB AJ Harris expected to attend game

With more than 24 hours until kickoff, there’s reason to believe five-star defensive back AJ Harris will make the trip to Gainesville from Phenix City, Alabama, for the Orange and Blue game. He hasn’t given many interviews throughout his recruitment, nor has Harris indicated his current plans, but the 6-foot-1 cornerback has taken multiple unofficial visits to Gainesville since Napier, as well as defensive backs coach Corey Raymond and defensive coordinator Patrick Toney, arrived at the UF program. 

Three prospects ranked within the top 30 by 247Sports, each trending in Florida’s direction, though certainly much can change between now and Early Signing Day in mid-December. 

There are many high school football players expected in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for Thursday's contest. Here are five additional names to watch. 

Teammates Knijeah Harris, Francis Mauigoa among names to watch

• Knijeah Harris, an offensive lineman out of IMG Academy who has taken two recent visits to the Gators and plans to commit to a program on May 7. 

• Francis Mauigoa, a teammate of Harris' on the offensive line who is as highly touted as they come. Mauigoa is ranked the No. 13 overall prospect and the No. 2 offensive tackle by 247Sports, though the Gators are considered to be on the outside looking in for the lineman out of American Samoa.

• Joenel Aguero, a 6-foot safety out of Lynn, Massachusetts, is expected to make the trip to Gainesville. He’s ranked the No. 20 overall player in the 2023 class by 247Sports, though it’s unclear where UF stands in his recruitment. Regardless, getting a player with his potential on campus is a positive sign.

• Orlando Boone (Fl.) wide receiver Aidan Mizell, a four-star prospect whose mother, Ebony Robinson, was formerly an All-American sprinter at Florida. 

• Trinity Christian Academy running back Treyaun Webb, ranked the No. 6 running back in the 2023 class by 247Sports. The Jacksonville native is also considering Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee.

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