We are ways away from the finish line, but the Gators are trending up on the recruiting trail with over a half-dozen prospects currently in the fold.
According to the 2024 Industry Ranking Football Team Recruiting Rankings, Florida is equipped with the No. 4-ranked class. Four prospects are currently ranked inside the top 100, with five-star quarterback DJ Lagway leading the way as the headliner.
However, there is always room for improvement, yet there should be plenty of optimism as well. The Gators are gearing up for a jam-packed June that will feature nearly two-dozen official visitors. That month alone should produce plenty of action over the next several months.
With that said, here are three reasons for optimism regarding Gators recruiting — and three reasons for concern.
First, here are some positives…
The cornerstone piece of the Gators’ class is already in place
We all know how much quarterback drama the Gators went through last cycle. It’s not worth refreshing the minds of the fan base, but with DJ Lagway in the class, the Gators already hold a commitment at the most important position and it’s from an elite prospect as well.
Being a five-star signal caller, recruits are immediately attracted to what’s being instilled in Gainesville, especially at wide receiver. If it wasn’t for Lagway, there is a good chance Jeremiah Smith would have not visited several weeks ago. Also, Chance Robinson, who is now committed to Miami, previously said Lagway’s presence in the class was the main reason why he was heavily interested at the time.
Adding an elite quarterback is extremely difficult as it is, but to have one leading the way this early in the cycle is a huge deal for Florida. Then when you consider the uncertainity surrounding UF’s quarterback situation right now, it’s not difficult to understand why Lagway is viewed as the future under center.
Lagway still needs to sign though. We are roughly eight months away from the Early Signing Period, but that verbal pledge is rock solid.
UF is poised to make some noise over the summer
If my math is correct, the Gators already have 17 confirmed official visits for June. And if all goes as planned, there will be plenty of additions over the next several months.
In years past, you would see a flurry of official visits during the spring and summer, but most of those trips would be set for the fall or December and January. The Early Signing Period has changed that.
Now, you are seeing plenty of commitments during the summer. That is in response to their summer official visits and wanting to have a decision in place before the fall. And when scanning the list of prospects with confirmed OV dates, it’s safe to assume Florida is going to rack up some commitments before kicking off the season.
The Gators could realistically land all six prospects; it would not surprise me at all.
Now, here are some concerns…
Where are the offensive linemen?
Although eight prospects are committed to UF, including Michigan transfer RJ Moten, none of them play along the offensive line. UF did a fairly good job in the portal, but the majority of its high school linemen have three stars attached to their resume.
With two offensive line coaches in place, the Gators must do a better job recruiting in the trenches.
As of right now, three-star prospect Marcus Mascoll of Atlanta (Ga.) South Gwinnett could be the most-likely addition. Florida and LSU are positioned best for his commitment. Some of you probably thought I was going to mention Eddy Pierre-Louis, but the Tampa native told me his communication with the Gators has somewhat dipped as of alte.
Additional prospects of note are four-star standouts Fletcher Westphal and Ethan Calloway and Central Florida native Tye Hylton. The Gators are on the short list for Westphal and Calloway, while Hylton’s recruitment could come down to the Gators and Seminoles. Nothing is guaranteed though, so UF must come out victorius in some of these battles.
With a five-star quarterback and multiple On300 running backs in the fold, I’m surprised the Gators are not having more success along the offensive line.
Florida is expected to take a step back on the field
In recent weeks, I’ve went on record saying I believe the Gators finish 5-7. I can see 6-6 being a possibility as well. Either way, both of those records are well under the yearly expectations of Florida football.
And because of that, you will likely hear an increased amount of chatter regarding UF’s commits. Even when a prospect is committed, they are continuously recruited by other schools. When those results are down the field though, the pressure starts to ramp up even more.
So, if the Gators do stumble throughout the season, will that affect UF’s class? It’s definitely possible. Some view that as the program heading in the wrong direction, while others see the opportunity to make a change. It really depends on the prospect, but it’s going to be interesting to see if UF can silence that chatter. Finishing strong could definitely be a challenge due to the on-field results.
Stay tuned to Gators Online.
The post Florida Gators Recruiting: Two reasons for optimism, two reasons for concern appeared first on On3.