PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA — Florida coach Billy Napier sees plenty of positives with Gators recruiting right now.
Florida is in the mix with several high-level targets, on-campus visits are going well and the commitment list for 2024 has quantity, quality and a high ranking.
Now, Napier has something else working in his program’s favor.
That’s the selection of Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson in the No. 4 overall spot of the recent NFL Draft. Because Richardson spent the last year under the tutelage of Napier and Florida offensive analyst Ryan O’Hara, prospects have taken notice, Napier said.
“It’s been great” Napier told Gators Online before speaking to the Panhandle Gator Club on Monday. “I think that’s one area where we’ve recruited well. I think it’s good that Anthony had positive experiences in the interview process, in the combine process. All those things I think were positive. Ultimately, that was the feedback. Once they got him in the room they were impressed with the development, what he did know, the growth in this past year.”
Already, the Gators have 5-star quarterback DJ Lagway of Texas committed for 2024. Austin Simmons, a 4-star recruit in Moore Haven (Fla.), is on the 2025 commitment list. Meanwhile, Florida also continues to work on others in the 2025 class.
Billy Napier has a top-5 class entering Year 2
Napier and Co. currently have the No. 4 recruiting class in the country for 2024 with eight verbals. Seven of them are 4-stars or better.
Since it’s May, that means Florida assistants are on the road recruiting — and evaluating. The current recruiting evaluation period runs from April 15 through May 31. Per NCAA rules, Napier can’t recruit off campus during this time. But he has hosted recruits on campus during weekends.
“Our staff, we’ve got a couple of spots open that we’re trying to add players to through the portal,” Napier said. “Then we’re on the road evaluating ’24, ’25, ’26 players all over the country but most importantly right here in the backyard.”
Napier’s efforts, combined with those of his on-field coaches and off-field staff, have netted the Gators 24 known scheduled official visits for June — with more coming.
And to Napirer, landing these officials is crucial to his program.
“I think we’re right in the mix with some of the best players in the country,” he said. “One of the things we’ve learned is we’ve worked hard on the player experience at Florida. I would argue that it’s as good as anywhere in the country. If we get them to campus, we’re in it. I think if you take a good look right now, every kid that’s been on our campus — for the most part — we’re right in the middle of it.”
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