A major flip: Nease's Marcus Stokes switches commitment to Florida from Penn State

Chris Boyle
St. Augustine Record
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Florida flipped the state's highest-ranked quarterback away from Penn State.

Nease rising senior Marcus Stokes, who competed at last week's Elite 11 event in Redondo Beach, California, committed to the Gators in a stunning U-turn late Thursday afternoon.

Stokes, the nation's No. 22 QB recruit according to 247Sports' composite rankings, locked in a verbal commitment to Penn State in early April following his second unofficial visit to Happy Valley.

"They saw me, they loved me, they offered me, I loved it (there) and I committed," said Stokes, who competed in a 7-on-7 event in Gainesville on June 22. "I have a lot of emotions right now. Playing college football close to home means a lot to me, and I didn't realize how much it meant to me until I had the opportunity."

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A huge part of the Panthers' dramatic 2021 turnaround, Stokes completed 58.9% of his attempts, throwing for 2,672 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He added a team-high 496 rushing yards and another six scores as Nease went 9-4 — following back-to-back, one-win campaigns — and advanced to its first regional football final since 2008.

Nease High School quarterback Marcus Stokes throws the ball in his school’s game against Creekside High School at home on Friday, September 3, 2021.

Florida has now landed the top two consensus 2023 prospects out of St. Johns County, securing the services of Bartram Trail cornerback Sharif Denson on June 27.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Stokes becomes the Gators' 10th commit overall and fills a big positional need in UF's recruiting class. Florida missed out on highly rated California passer Jaden Rashada, who controversially chose Miami instead.

"I think the role I'm going to play in this signing class is to build it," Stokes said. "That's the thing that's most important right now. I want to start it off with a boom."

Shortly after Stokes' commitment, Jacksonville Trinity Christian four-star running back Treyaun Webb chose the Gators over Penn State, South Carolina and others.

Of course, the last time the Gators pulled a quarterback out of Nease, it worked out pretty well — Heisman winner and two-time national champion Tim Tebow.

"I'm ready for it. Obviously I'm going to be compared to him because history is being rewritten," Stokes said. "I hope to meet the dude. I'm excited for it."

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