When Billy Napier took over the Florida football program, the lack of recruiting and inevitable attrition from the previous regime left a lot to be desired. The 2022 recruiting class was ranked dead last among SEC schools and reached as far back as the mid-60’s in late November and early December.
Napier himself did his best to temper expectations for his transition class, saying that Florida would likely have a quiet early signing period and begin making the relationships necessary for future classes.
What did Napier do in the early period? He under-promised and over-delivered. He convinced five-star S Kamari Wilson to sign with the Gators and earned the signature of four-star LB Shemar James, along with several other high profile commitments.
Following the early signing period, Napier has struck with six more verbal commitments including four-star RB Trevor Etienne.
So, what does Napier have in store for the Gator Nation on Wednesday? We will have to wait and see, but here are my predictions on some of the bigger names associated with Florida football this cycle:
- Harold Perkins, No. 2 LB, No. 8 overall: After decommitting from Texas A&M, it seemed he was all-Gators. He did visit LSU in the final recruiting weekend, but if he signs anywhere but Florida, it’ll seem like he trolled Gators fans for the last month and a half. Florida.
- Jacoby Mathews, No. 2 S, No. 38 overall: Mathews is very familiar with Florida DB coach Corey Raymond, who had previously been recruiting him to LSU. Mathews is a Louisiana kid and with the Tigers getting his last visit, I think it’s unlikely he ends up in Florida’s swamp. LSU.
- TreVonte’ Citizen, No. 9 RB, No. 107 overall: A 6’0, 217 lb running back down to Auburn and Florida. This one seems like a toss-up, but he really seems to like what Billy Napier is selling. Florida.
- Caden Story, No. 27 DL, No. 204 overall: The Gators got Story on campus the final week of recruiting visits. Was the trip impressive enough to ward off Dabo Swiney and Clemson? I think so, Florida.
- Caleb Douglas, No. 67 WR, No. 474 overall: Down to Florida and LSU, will announce at 1:20 PM central. Florida, but it could easily go the other way.
- Arlis Boardingham, No. 31 ATH, No. 496 overall: The Van Nuys, CA native has been all Gators since he received an offer on December 22. Shortly thereafter, Oregon also offered and the Ducks did get the final visit, but it would be surprising if he doesn’t choose Florida.
Admittedly, this would be a dream scenario, missing on just one guy to his hometown school and landing the rest would be an incredible showing for Napier and would likely bring this class inside the top-15 or higher.
But, even if Napier misses on several of, or even most of these prospects, there’s no reason to panic. The turnaround since early December is obviously, painfully so to many of Florida’s biggest rivals.