Florida head coach Cameron Newbauer is set to begin his third season with the Orange and Blue. While the first two years did not produce the wins he had hoped, Newbauer’s efforts on the recruiting trail have been nothing short of sensational.
Newbauer and his staff have been on a steady rise in the national recruiting rankings, and last year landed a star-studded class, featuring Lavender Briggs, Nina Rickards, Brylee Bartram, and Faith Dut. The 2019 recruiting class completed the cycle ranked No. 26, according to Prospects Nation. The upward trend has continued, as the previous two cycles saw Florida ranked No. 34 and No. 31.
The trend appears set to continue further as the nation’s No. 31 prospect, Jordyn Merritt, announced her commitment to the program on September 21. ESPN actually has the high school senior ranked No. 27 overall.
With that being said, i’m happy to announce that I have found my home to pursue my academic dreams and athletic goals at the University of Florida! GO GATORS!🐊🧡💙
— Jordyn Merritt (@jdm1802) September 21, 2019
Merritt is a 6’2” forward from Plano, Texas, with offers from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Penn State, among others. She is a four-star rated prospect, according to Prospects Nation. Merritt opted to commit to the Florida program after an official visit that provided her “a lot of the right information that sealed the deal for me.”
Merritt is the highest rated commit that the Florida program has received since 2013 (Ronni Williams).
Florida’s staff reached out to Meritt a little over a year ago, and while her memory of the exact topics in the conversation is fuzzy, she explained that it probably had nothing to do with basketball. “[Newbauer] likes to talk about life and make jokes.” She also described her first impression of her future coach as “this man is crazy.” Merritt went on to say that Newbauer’s personality is unmatched and that she believes that he has the best interest of all of his players in mind.
In choosing the Gators, Merritt stated that the atmosphere on campus, as well as the academics at UF, were a big draw. “Academics is a major [priority] for me. Seeing how serious everyone took that made me feel sure that I would succeed, not just athletically, but academically as well.”
As a sophomore, Merritt led her team to the Texas Class 6A title averaging 15.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. As a junior, she averaged a double-double (18 points and 10 boards) and led her team to a 28-6 record and a regional quarterfinal berth. Last season she was named first-team all-area by the Dallas Morning News.
Speaking of her game, Merritt had this to say about her style of play: “I am a versatile player. I’m a leader and am super competitive.” She explained that she takes pride in her defensive abilities and is working on further developing her perimeter game.
“Going into my senior year…going back to state is definitely a goal of mine, but more than anything, I’m ready to have fun with the weight of choosing a college off of my back.
“This is my last shot at another high school championship. I’m going to give it my all.”
With a staff that works as hard as Newbauer’s, the sky’s the limit for a program that is certainly trending upward.