If you’ve been paying attention to Florida’s 2017 recruiting cycle, you may have been worried. Jim McElwain’s Florida Gators were ranked very low just a week ago and programs such as Kentucky and Mississippi State were ranked higher.
Florida also had to deal with a negative recruiting campaign that (reportedly) University of Miami coaches used. Miami and Florida were competing for nine recruits according to Zach Abolverdi at SECCountry.com, and Florida was able to bring seven of those athletes to Gainesville.
Florida had a very successful day, one that may have surprised even the biggest optimist. Florida is ranked in the top ten in recruiting rankings on most sites, including #9 on Rivals.com.
Florida’s first letter of intent received came from Marco Wilson. Wilson is the brother of former Gator Quincy Wilson who left early for the NFL draft. Quincy Wilson was the first commit to submit his letter of intent in 2014. Wilson’s teammate at American Heritage, Tedarelle Slaton became the highest rated commit when he put the Gators hat on his head.
Most importantly, Florida was able to address positions of need in this recruiting cycle. Florida had to address the defensive tackle position and the defensive backfield, and they certainly did.
- Kyree Campbell (EE 3-star, Woodbridge, VA)
- Elijah Conliffe (4-star, Hampton, VA)
- TJ Slaton (4-star, Fort Lauderdale)
- Shawn Davis (3-star, Miami)
- Brian Edwards (3-star, Hollywood)
- Christopher Henderson (4-star, Miami)
- Brad Stewart (4-star, New Orleans)
- Donovan Stiner (3-star, Houston)
- Marco Wilson (4-star, Fort Lauerdale)
Jim McElwain and staff also added depth to the Gators roster at linebacker, wide receiver, and running back. The Gators signed four linebackers, and two receivers, and two of the top rated running backs in Florida.
The James Robinson saga continued for Florida after administrators forced McElwain to stop recruiting the talented wide receiver after receiving a citation for marijuana possession on an official visit to Ohio State. One of the biggest surprises of the day was Robinson signing with Florida. Clearly, McElwain reached out to the administration and wanted to give Robinson a second chance.
- Lacedrick Brunson (2-star, Miami)
- James Houston (EE 3-star, Fort Lauderdale)
- Ventrell Miller (3-star, Lakeland)
- Nick Smith (3-star, Orlando)
- DaQuon Green (4-star, Tampa)
- James Robinson (4-star, Lakeland)
- Malik Davis (3-star, Tampa)
- Adarius Lemons (3-star, Clearwater)
Florida added two (for now) quarterbacks to the roster as well as two big offensive linemen.
Jake Allen had been the longest committed Gator, and was among the first to sign his letter of intent. Kadarius Toney is an athlete that will have a chance as a quarterback. Toney early-enrolled and may switch to receiver at some point.
- Jake Allen (3-star, Fort Lauderdale)
- Kadarius Toney (EE 3-star, Eight Mile, AL)
- TJ Moore (4-star, Charlotte, NC)
- Kadeem Telfort (EE 4-star, Miami)
- TE Kemore Gamble (EE 4-star, Miami)
- DE Zachary Carter (4-star, Tampa)
McElwain said in his press conference that Florida has not filled out their roster yet, and that he expects more to come. TE commit Zech Byrd did not sign his letter of intent. He stated that he is still committed to Florida, but that he wasn’t ready to sign.
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