Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen and his staff have done a terrific job of keeping a landing some of the top recruits in the country. The new early signing period is just a few days before Christmas, and the Florida Gators got some pretty sweet gifts last Wednesday. The Gators signed 11 of their 13 commits and also landed two Under Armour All-American. On the 247 Sports Composite Rankings, the Florida Gators are the 14th ranked class in the country. They still have at most ten more spots to fill with some of the top prospects still in Florida’s radar. The Gators still have a lot of work to do, but here are 15 recruits that are currently committed or signed with the Florida Gators.
Preview of the 2018 Florida Gators Recruiting Class
Four-star QB Emory Jones
Just last week, Gator Nation freaked out when their former QB commit, Matt Corral, flipped to Ole Miss. Mullen needed to sign another quarterback and fast. Not only did Mullen signed a quarterback, but he landed one of the top QBs in the class. Four-star QB and UA All-American Emory Jones flipped from Ohio State and signed with Florida. Jones was Florida fans’ early Christmas present as they have signed their future QB. On the 247 Sports Composite Rankings, Jones is the 40th ranked recruit and the fourth ranked dual-threat QB in the country. Jones is one of the elite QBs this class due to his decision making, arm strength and running ability. Jones will enroll early and compete for the starting quarterback job for the 2018 season.
Four-star OT Richard Gouraige
Richard Gouraige is a four-star offensive tackle out of Cambridge Christian High School in Tampa, Florida. Gouraige is an Under Armour All-American offensive tackle and was one of the biggest gets from the previous coaching staff. The in-state lineman didn’t sign with the Gators this week and will have to fight off competing offers. Gouraige has been targeted by the Auburn and Clemson since Jim McElwain was no longer at Florida. Another thing that hurts the Gators is the fact that his primary recruiter, Brad Davis, left Florida for Missouri. Dan Mullen and his OL coach John Hevesy needs to build a relationship with Gouraige and fast. Gouraige is a top ten offensive tackle in the country. On the 247 Sports Composite, Gouraige is 86th ranked recruit and the seventh ranked OT in the country.
Four-star TE Kyle Pitts
Another big signing from the previous staff was four-star tight end Kyle Pitts. The Pennsylvania native committed to the Gators last summer and has stayed solid even after a rough 2017 season. Pitts signed with Florida on Wednesday and will compete for the tight end job once he arrives on campus. Pitts is one of the top tight ends in the country and will be a perfect fit for Dan Mullen in his offense. The Under Armour All-American is a tall, lanky tight end that can play inside and could spread him out at receiver. On the 247 Sports Composite, Pitts is 147th ranked recruit and the sixth ranked TE in the country.
Four-star S Amari Burney
When Amari Burney committed to the Gators last June, he shut down his recruitment and was 100% a Gator. Burney is an extremely talented recruit that could be used all over the field for the Gators. The Florida coaching staff will likely use him as a linebacker once he enrolls in January. The linebacker depth chart is very thin and Burney could get some early playing time if he makes the transition to LB. He will need to add some weight but that shouldn’t be a problem with Nick Savage working him out from spring camp to the season opener. On the 247 Sports Composite, Burney is 169th ranked recruit and the 15th ranked S in the country.
Four-star RB Dameon Pierce
The Florida Gators already have a loaded backfield with Lamical Perine, Malik Davis and Adarius Lemons. Now, the Gators add another elite running back in Dameon Pierce. The former Alabama commit is the perfect running for the SEC. He is 5’11” weighing in at 205 pounds. Pierce is a bruising back but also has really solid speed to break away from defenders. He is one of the top prep running backs ever to come out of Georgia. He ranked inside the top fifteen in rushing yards and surpassed Hershel Walker in the rankings. Florida Gators running back Ja’Juan Seider did a terrific job of getting Pierce in the class. On the 247 Sports Composite, Pierce is 199th ranked recruit and the tenth ranked RB in the country.
Four-star S Trey Dean
Emory Jones wasn’t the only early Christmas present on Wednesday. Shortly after Jones signed to Florida, four-star safety Trey Dean also made his pledge to Florida. Dean is a Florida legacy as his cousin, Ahmad Black, was one of the safety to come out of the University of Florida. Dean was a former Tennessee commit but de-committed once things went south at UT. Alabama seemed to be the favorites to land the Under Armour All-American but Florida was able to get him on campus and seal the deal. Dean is a versatile defensive back that could be used as safety or cornerback. If Florida doesn’t sign two more CBs, Dean might be moved to corner in January. On the 247 Sports Composite, Dean is the 250th ranked recruit and the 22nd ranked S in the country.
Four-star ATH Iverson Clement
The Gators also added another running back to their very deep backfield. Four-star athlete Iverson Clement was one of the first commits to sign their NLI. Clement is one of the top prospects out of New Jersey and committed to the Gators early in the process. Clement is listed as an athlete but the Gators will use him at running back. He is a very talented running back that can be used in many different ways. He is a speedy back that is very explosive in the open field. Clement can also be used as a receiver in the backfield. The Gators haven’t found a solid pass catcher coming out of the backfield in a while. Clement could be exactly what the Gators have been looking for a while. On the 247 Sports Composite, Clement is 283rd ranked recruit and the 11th ranked ATH in the country.
Four-star LB David Reese
Outside of quarterback and kicker, linebacker might be the biggest need in Florida’s class. The Gators aren’t done a linebacker but they have signed a really good one in David Reese. The four-star LB is an in-state recruit out of Vero Beach High School. Reese is a big, athletic linebacker that will likely be used as a pass rusher. He loves to get to the quarterback and has a quick first step. Reese is a perfect fit for Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense as Grantham will likely use Jeremiah Moon and maybe Reese as the outside linebackers rushing the QB. On the 247 Sports Composite, Reese is 289th ranked recruit and the 20th ranked OLB in the country. Reese also shares the same name as Florida’s top linebacker, David Reese.
Three-star S Randy Russell
When McElwain parted ways with Florida, Gator fans were worried about which recruits would stick and leave. Three-star safety Randy Russell was one of those commits fans weren’t worried about. The Miami native was one of the most solid commits in the Gators class. He was a Miami commit but de-committed from the Canes last summer. Russell committed to the Gators while he was at Florida for Friday Night Lights. The 5’10” safety might not be the biggest but he packs a punch. Russell is a head hunting safety and makes receiver think twice about going over the middle. He is a terrific addition to “DBU” as they have needed more hard hitters since Keanu Neal left for the Falcons. Russell will compete for the nickel job in spring camp as an early enrollee. On the 247 Sports Composite, Russell is the 28th ranked S in the country.
Three-star S John Huggins
A late addition to the 2018 Gators class was John Huggins. The former Florida State commit pledged to the Gators after his official visit to Florida. He was a big commitment for the Gators as they would like to add some more depth to the safety position if Marcell Harris doesn’t return for his sixth year. Huggins signed with the Gators early even though he isn’t an early enrollee. The in-state safety felt right at home after visiting and meeting his future defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. On the 247 Sports Composite, Huggins is the 32nd ranked S in the country.
Three-star OT Chris Bleich
Once Dan Mullen was hired as the Gators head coach, he hired two assistant coaches from Mississippi State. One of those assistants was his OL coach, John Hevesy. When Hevesy was hired, he reached out to UCLA commit Chris Bleich and was able to flip him. Bleich was the first recruit to commit to the Gators with Dan Mullen as the Florida Gators head coach. Bleich is a big, athletic offensive lineman that could be used at tackle or guard. He is 6’6” and weighs 305 pounds. He moves very well and can get into the second level of the defense quickly. On the 247 Sports Composite, Bleich is the 33rd ranked OT in the country.
Three-star JUCO OT Noah Banks
The offensive line position is one of the positions Florida needs to sign the most guys. Noah Banks is a JUCO OT who not only fills a need, he could compete for one of the starting jobs at the offensive line. Banks was a JUCO All-American offensive lineman and received a ton of interested from other schools. He was an Arkansas commit before flipping to the Gators after an official visit. Banks had other offers from Mississippi State and Texas. John Hevesy recruited Banks hard but the JUCO OT wasn’t interested in Mississippi State. Once Hevesy was hired at Florida, Banks reached out to Hevesy wanting to visit Florida. On the 247 Sports Composite, Banks is the 29th ranked JUCO recruit and the sixth ranked JUCO OT in the country.
Three-star TE Dante Lang
When Dante Lang committed to the Gators over the summer, he was done with his recruitment and knew Florida was his future home. Dante Lang is a three-star tight end out of Boca Raton Community High School in Boca Raton, Florida. Lang is a big, strong tight end that has will likely be used as a blocking tight end. He was a defensive end for most of his high school career but switch to tight end his senior year. Lang is a working in progress in the passing game. On the 247 Sports Composite, Lang is the 100th ranked recruit in the state of Florida.
Three-star WR Corey Gammage
Corey Gammage is a three-star wide receiver out of Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Florida. Richard Gouraige and Gammage are the only two commits that haven’t signed with the Gators. Gammage isn’t expected to be in the Florida since he has looked at other options. Gammage was the first Florida commit to de-commit from the class when Jim McElwain parted ways with Florida. He quickly re-committed to the Gators just a few hours later but his commitment is still a little shaky. The in-state receiver has other offers form Auburn, Miami and Virginia Tech. On the 247 Sports Composite, Gammage is the 122nd ranked WR in the country.
Three-star K Evan McPherson
If McPherson is a three-star, he might be one of the bets three-star recruits in the country. Evan McPherson is a three-star kicker out of Fort Payne High School in Fort Payne, Alabama. The only reason McPherson is a three-star is because he is a kicker. The former Mississippi State commit was a huge get for the Gators since Eddy Pineiro has declared for the 2018 NFL Draft. McPherson will arrive to the University of Florida in the summer and will probably become the favorite to win the starting kicker job. McPherson is an Under Armour All-American and is the #1 ranked kicker in the 247 Sports Composite Rankings.
Ole Miss WR Van Jefferson
With Ole Miss going under probation, some of their top players are transferring out. Redshirt-sophomore WR Van Jefferson is one of the few underclassmen who will transfer out. Jefferson picked the Florida Gators over the Michigan Wolverines last Monday. Normally, transfers wouldn’t be allowed to play in the upcoming season. Due the sanctions, Jefferson could clear the way for a waiver that would allow him to play in the 2018 season. Coming out of high school, Jefferson was a four-star recruit and an Army All-American. On the 247 Sports Composite, Jefferson was the 106th ranked recruit and the 11th ranked WR in the country. In his two season at Ole Miss, Jefferson had 91 receptions for 999 yards and four touchdowns.
Ohio State WR Trevon Grimes
In the 2017 recruiting cycle, the Florida Gators went after St. Thomas Aquinas WR Trevon Grimes hard but weren’t able to sign him. After one season at Ohio State, Grimes has made his way to Florida as the in-state wide receiver announced Thursday that he will transfer to the University of Florida. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Grimes has applied for a hardship waiver from the NCAA and hopes he will be eligible to play in the 2018 season. Grimes took a leave of absence from the Buckeyes in October because of family issues. It’s an unfortunate situation but could work out for both parties. Grimes liked Florida out of high school and is close with Florida QBs Emory Jones and Jake Allen. Coming out of high school, Grimes was the 41st ranked recruit and the sixth ranked WR in the country.
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