UF lands another big commitment in Wright
Florida's impressive late run on five-star football recruits continued Tuesday morning when Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas free safety Major Wright announced he will sign with the Gators on Feb. 7.
UF's last five commitments have come from five-star prospects — Wright, defensive end Justin Trattou, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, offensive lineman James Wilson and outside linebacker Lorenzo Edwards.
"The recruiting class Florida is putting together was a big factor in my decision," Wright said. "Everyone wants to play with other top players."
Wright certainly falls into the category of top player, according to the recruiting analysts.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Wright is rated the No. 2 free safety prospect in the nation by Rivals.com and No. 4 by Scout.com, which rates Wright a five-star prospect.
Wright announced for UF at St. Thomas on Tuesday morning, picking the Gators over Miami, Ohio State and Notre Dame. He visited UM this past weekend, but said his final decision came down to Florida and Ohio State, the team the Gators defeated 41-14 in the national championship game earlier this month.
"I felt it in my gut," Wright told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I took all of my visits, but my gut, my gut said Florida.
"It wasn't just (that UF won the national championship), but it was fun to see how all the fans reacted and enjoyed that championship. It felt pretty cool to see how it will go if we win another national championship. And it's nice that my parents will be able to see me play."
Wright fills a UF need at safety, where the Gators are looking to replace All-America Reggie Nelson, who is departing early for the NFL. Wright is considered a big-time hitter who could also play strong safety or possibly even outside linebacker.
Wright visited UF three weeks ago. He originally planned to announce his decision on national signing day, but changed that plan last week, St. Thomas coach George Smith said.
"We sat down last week and talked and he decided to go ahead and do something the Tuesday after visiting Miami," Smith said. "We had a chance to go to New York to be on a national recruiting show (on Feb. 7), but he decided there was no reason to wait any longer.
"Of the four schools (in the final mix), he could have pulled anybody out of a hat and it would have been a great decision. He just felt real comfortable at Florida. His gut feeling was that he belonged there. I'm impressed with how all the coaches handled the situation He's a high-profile kid and sometimes there is some mud-slinging (among schools). There was none of that. All the schools were above board and honest with him. It was a positive experience for him."
In his senior season, Wright recorded 57 tackles, intercepted three passes and blocked three punts.
He could push for immediate playing time at UF, where the leading candidates to replace Nelson are redshirt freshmen Bryan Thomas and Jamar Hornsby.
UF now has commitments from 25 prospects and the Gators' recruiting class is ranked No. 1 in the nation by Scout.com and Rivals.com.
And Florida probably isn't done yet. The Gators remain in the running for several other elite prospects, including the nation's No. 1 wide receiver (Terrance Toliver), the state's top receiver (Deonte Thompson) and one of the country's best defensive tackles (John Brown). UF also is waiting to hear from wide receiver Ahmad Paige, cornerback Ronald Johnson and linebacker/defensive end Allen Bailey.
Paige is expected to make a decision after visiting Southern Cal this weekend. A former Florida State commitment, Paige is down to UF, USC and Tennessee.
Thompson and Toliver are not expected to announce anything until national signing day, while Brown and Bailey could have announcements later this week.
Robbie Andreu can be reached at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Current UF verbal commitments, with position, height, weight, hometown, high school and Scout.com star rating, are: 5-Star Players 1. Torrey Davis (DT, 6-4, 285) Seffner (Armwood) 2. Aaron Hernandez (TE, 6-4, 235) Bristol, Conn. (Central) 3. Chris Rainey (RB, 5-9, 163) Lakeland (Lakeland) 4. James Wilson (OL, 6-5, 305) St. Augustine (Nease) 5. Lorenzo Edwards (WLB, 6-2, 225) Orlando (Edgewater 6. Carlos Dunlap (DE, 6-7, 240) North Charleston, S.C. (Dorchester) 7. Justin Trattou (DE, 6-4, 230) Ramsey, N.J. (Don Bosco Prep) 8. Major Wright (S, 6-1, 205) Fort Lauderdale (St. Thomas) 4-Stars 1. Cameron Newton (QB, 6-5, 225) Atlanta (Westlake) 2. Bo Williams (RB, 6-0, 205) Oakland Park (Northeast) 3. DeMarcus Van Dyke (CB, 6-1, 157) Miami (Monsignor Pace) 4. Duke Lemmens (DE, 6-5, 238) Westlake Village, Calif. (Oaks Christian) 5. Bert Reed (CB, 6-0, 175) Panama City (Bay) 6. John Brantley IV (QB, 6-3, 195) Ocala (Trinity Catholic) 7. Joe Haden (WR, 5-11, 195) Fort Washington, Md. (Friendly) 8. Chas Henry (P, 6-4, 200) Dallas, Ga. (East Paulding) 9. Michael Pouncey (OL, 6-4, 298) Lakeland (Lakeland) 10. Maurkice Pouncey (OL, 6-4, 283) Lakeland (Lakeland) 11. Ahmad Black (CB, 5-10, 170) Lakeland (Lakeland) 12. Bryan Waggener (QB, 6-4, 226) Glendora, Calif. (Juco) 13. John Jones (MLB, 6-3, 205) Sarasota (Booker) 3-Stars 1. Jay Howard (DE, 6-5, 230) Orlando (Jones) 2. Steven Wilks (S, 6-2, 195) Lakeland (Lakeland) 3. Paul Wilson (WR, 6-1, 175) Lakeland (Lakeland) 4. Justin Grant (CB, 6-1, 180) St. Augustine (Nease)