Football: Miami, Florida, UCF among top programs recruiting Florida in July

Jon Santucci
The Gainesville Sun

Now that the calendar has flipped to August, top high school football recruits are returning to the practice field and will be spending less time on college campuses.

But that doesn't mean that July didn't have plenty of drama on the recruiting trail. 

Miami landed several key targets, including a trio of standouts from IMG. That includes Francis Mauigoa, the top-ranked offensive lineman in the nation. Florida had a big month, including flipping Nease quarterback Marcus Stokes from Penn State. UCF arguably had its best recruiting month ever, led by Osceola defensive tackle John Walker.

Here are the schools that had the most success recruiting the state of Florida during July. 

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Football recruiting: Osceola four-star DL John Walker commits to UCF

1. Miami

Trinity Catholic offensive lineman Tommy Kinsler works during practice in Ocala. Kinsler flipped from Florida to Miami late last month.

The Hurricanes didn't get the most in-state commitments in July, but this is a case where quality beats quantity. Other than Mauigoa, IMG's Jayden Wayne is the No. 6 edge rusher in the nation on the 247Sports composite and IMG's Riley Williams in the No. 3 tight end in the country. Jones linebacker Malik Bryant is No. 9 on the USA Today Florida Network top 100 and flipping Trinity Catholic offensive lineman Tommy Kinsler from Florida late in the month was a big addition.

2. Florida

Florida Gators head coach Bill Napier, right, watches as quarterback commit Marcus Stokes throws during a drill at the annual football showcase at the University of Florida called Friday Night Lights, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville FL. July 29, 2022.

The Gators had a great start to the month with Stokes, Trinity Christian running back Treyaun Webb and Gaither athlete Eugene Wilson III. That alone was headline-worthy. But Florida saved its best for last, picking up commitments from wide receivers Aiden Mizell (Boone) and Andy Jean (Miami Northwestern) and defensive backs Ja'keem Jackson (Osecola) and Jordan Castell (West Orange). Overall, it was a strong summer for Billy Napier and his staff. 

3. Georgia

Raylen Wilson heads for the end zone with a score for Lincoln in the second half. Mosley and Lincoln battled in the Region 1-6A semifinals at Tommy Oliver Stadium Friday, November 19, 2021. The Dolphins came away with the win 31-28.

The Bulldogs used an elite defense last fall to win its first national championship in 41 years. Kirby Smart nabbed three more elite defenders from Florida last month: linebackers Raylen Wilson (Lincoln) and Troy Bowles (Jesuit) and cornerback Daniel Harris (Gulliver Prep). Wilson and Bowles are the No. 2 and 3 linebackers in the nation on the 247Sports composite. 

4. UCF

Osceola football star John Walker dons a UCF hat after selecting the Golden Knights as his collegiate destination on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Recency bias is a concern when saying something like "best ever," but its feels appropriate with the Knights haul this past month. UCF landed commitments from four four-star recruits in July. To put that number in perspective, UCF had a total of four-star players sign from 2015-2022. Walker is the No. 1 defensive lineman in the state on the USA Today Florida Network top 100. Twin linebackers Andrew and Michael Harris, from Lake Brantley, and Lake Mary cornerback Braeden Marshall are athletic playmakers who fit the mold of Hometown Heroes.

5. Oklahoma

The Sooners added a pair of top-25 defenders from the USA Today Florida Network top 100: Osceola defensive lineman Derrick LeBlanc and Tampa Catholic linebacker Lewis Carter. Sooners coach Brent Venables made Florida a priority since he got the job, landing four in-state players in the class of 2022 and already has three commitments this year.


Florida high school football players who announced commitments to Power 5 programs in June


Florida State: Lucas Simmons (Clearwater Academy International OT); Georgia Tech: Javin Simpkins (Miami Norland RB);Miami: Francis Mauigoa (IMG OT), Jayden Wayne (IMG EDGE); Malik Bryant (Jones LB), Riley Williams (IMG TE), Tommy Kinsler (Trinity Catholic OL); N.C. State: Daemon Fagan (American Heritage DB); Pittsburgh: Lamar Seymore (Miami Central WR); Virginia: Anthony Colandrea (Lakewood QB)

Big 12*

Iowa State: Norris Davis (Tampa Bay Tech S); Kansas State: Joe Jackson (Ridge Community ATH); Oklahoma: Derrick LeBlanc (Osceola DL, Lewis Carter (Tampa Catholic LB); Texas: Payton Kirkland (Dr. Phillips OT); UCF: John Walker (Osceola DL), Andrew Harris (Lake Brantley LB), Michael Harris (Lake Brantley LB), Braden Marshall (Lake Mary CB), Grant Reddick (Boone K)

Big 10

Illinois: Kenari Wilcher (Moore Haven S); Maryand: Deandre Duffus (Chaminade-Madonna OL); Penn State: Elliot Washington (Naples S); Purdue: Shaborne Demps (Glades Central WR), Ethon Cole (Lake Minneola S)


Oregon State: Tastean Reddicks (Dillard WR); Washington State: Jailen Ruth (Hawthorne OLB)


Alabama: Richard Young (Lehigh RB), Auburn: Wilky Denaud (John Carroll Catholic EDGE) Florida: Aidan Mizell (Boone WR), Eugene Wilson III (Gaither ATH), Ja'Keem Jackson (Osceola CB), Treyaun Webb (Trinity Christian RB), Jordan Castell (West Orange S), Andy Jean (Miami Northwestern WR), Marcus Stokes (Nease QB); Georgia: Raylen Wilson (Lincoln LB), Troy Bowles (Jesuit LB), Daniel Harris (Gulliver Prep CB); LSU: Jalen Brown (Gulliver Prep WR); Missouri: Shamar McNeil (American Heritage CB); South Carolina: Jaden Robinson (Columbia LB)

* BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston will join the Big 12 in 2023.