With National Signing Day only a few weeks away, the Florida Gators coaching staff is traveling the country and hosting recruits trying to get them to commit to the University of Florida. Dan Mullen and his staff have done a great job of getting recruits on campus and landing some of the top recruits in the country. In a short period of time, Mullen has signed QB Emory Jones, WR Justin Watkins, and DB Trey Dean. The Gators have a lot of momentum heading into National Signing Day as they try to close on a few of the top remaining recruits in the nation. Here is the Florida Gators’ 2018 Mock Recruiting Class.
QB- Emory Jones
When Dan Mullen arrived on campus, he knew he had Matt Corral in the class, but Corral didn’t fit in Mullen’s system. Mullen started recruiting other top quarterbacks like Justin Fields, Emory Jones, and Joey Gatewood. All three were committed to other elite programs, but Mullen still went after all three of them. Jones showed the most interest and even took an official visit to the University of Florida. During the early signing period, Jones flipped his commitment to Ohio State and signed with Florida. It was a huge recruiting win for the Gators as they were to get their prized QB since Corral flipped to Ole Miss. Jones will be one of the focus points in spring camp as he will compete for the starting QB job. Florida fans have been waiting for a star QB since Tim Tebow and they might have gotten one in Jones.
RB- Dameon Pierce and Iverson Clement
With Jordan Scarlett coming back, the Florida Gators have one of the deepest running back cores in the country. Malik Davis and Lamical Perine are coming off big seasons and the Gators were still able to sign two four-star running backs. Dameon Pierce was a huge get for the Gators as he was an Alabama commit but de-committed and quickly committed to Florida over the summer. Pierce is a big, physical back that is perfect for the SEC. He is built like an SEC player and should thrive in the conference in the next few years. Iverson Clement was the first RB to commit to Florida but he’s different than Pierce. Clement is more of a speed, quick back that can make plays in space. He is also a great receiver out of the backfield which could help him get on the field quicker.
WR- Justin Watkins and Jacob Copeland
On the first weekend of official visits for the Gators, four-star WR Justin Watkins committed to the Gators. He was expected to commit to Florida during the Under Armour All-American Game but decided not to commit since Florida was making a late push for him. Watkins isn’t the only wide receiver in the class. The Gators also landed two big transfers in Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes. Both have applied for eligibility for the 2018 season but won’t know until the spring. The only other receiver Florida wants is Jacob Copeland. The in-state recruit was already committed to Florida but de-committed because of McElwain leaving. The Gators are very confident in landing Copeland but they will need to fight off Alabama and Tennessee in order to sign the Under Armour All-American. Copeland visited the University of Florida on February 2nd.
TE- Kyle Pitts and Dante Lang
The tight ends were expected to be a big part of the Gators offense in the 2017 season but they didn’t perform well. DeAndre Goolsby and C’yontai Lewis struggled mightily and didn’t produce like they would have liked. The Gators have signed two tight ends in Kyle Pitts and Dante Lang. Pitts is an Under Armour All-American that could make an impact for the Gators in the 2018 season. He’s big and tall tight end who is a quarterback’s friend. He’s a great pass catcher and could line up as receiver if needed. Dante Lang was a nice signing for Florida as he also is a big body but is still learning how to play tight end. Lang was previously a defensive end but moved to TE in the summer. He needs some work at TE but could be used as a blocking tight end in the future.
OL- Nicholas Petit-Frere, Richard Gouraige, Noah Banks, Chris Bleich and Griffin McDowell
With all of the issues at offensive line, the Gators need to end on a high note with the offensive line. Getting Martez Ivey back was huge, but the Gators still need to sign a few more offensive lineman. Florida’s top target is the five-star OT Nicholas Petit-Frere. The in-state offensive tackle is a top ten recruit in the country and Florida’s top recruit on their radar. He had a great visit to Florida, but it’s hard to tell where he will end up. Florida seems to have a slight lead but everyone will know on Wednesday. Four-star OT Richard Gouraige is currently committed to the Gators. Clemson made a run for him but the Gators were able to keep him. Griffin McDowell flipped from Mississippi State to Florida. Noah Banks and Chris Bleich have already signed and enrolled at Florida.
DE- Andrew Chatfield, Dorian Gerald, Caleb Tannor and Caleb Johnson
The Florida coaching staff did a great job of landing defensive ends. The biggest name is four-star DE Andrew Chatfield. The in-state lineman seemed like a Miami lean but after visiting Florida, the Gators ended up beating out the Canes. The four-star JUCO DE Dorian Gerald has received a lot of attention for the Florida coaching staff and being recruited very hard. Florida likes their chances of signing him and should sign him after a great official visit last weekend. Caleb Tannor and Caleb Johnson both finished their official visits with the University of Florida and felt like priorities. Both are very talented recruits and should sign with Florida. Tannor might sign with the Gators since Auburn might not have enough room for him.
DT- Fabien Lovett
Fabien Lovett is another former Mississippi State commit that could on his way to Florida. The Gators have already flipped former MSU commit Evan McPherson and could steal their former commit. Lovett took an official visit to the University of Florida on February 2nd. He really enjoyed his time at Florida, which has made his decision tougher. The Gators should land Lovett due to his relationship with the Florida coaching staff. The Gators also might miss out on Miami commit Nesta Silvera. The Army All-American has been committed to Miami for close to a year and he should stick with them. Florida put up a good fight but it wasn’t enough to land the star defensive tackle.
LB- David Reese
David Reese has already signed with Florida. The in-state linebacker is one of the top linebackers in the country. The Gators were able to land any other linebackers even though Florida needed another linebacker or two. The Gators couldn’t sign Xavier Peters due to grades and Quay Walker decided not to take an official visit. The Florida coaching staff might move four-star safety Amari Burney to linebacker. With all of the safeties Florida has, it makes sense to move Burney to linebacker. He’s a great athlete with nice speed and could turn into a great coverage linebacker if he adds some muscle.
CB- Noah Boykin
The Florida Gators have some of the top cornerbacks in the country but don’t have much behind them. Brian Edwards is good and could get some playing time next season, but Florida still needs to add depth. Maryland commit Noah Boykin is really the only other cornerback the Gators are recruiting. Boykin just finished his last official visit with the Florida Gators and will make his final decision on National Signing Day. Florida fans should feel very confident in landing Boykin. The Gators coaching staff has done a great job of making him feel like a priority and making a big impression on his family. Florida has had success with corners out of Washington D.C. like Joe Haden and Jalen “Teez” Tabor.
S- Trey Dean, Randy Russell, Amari Burney and John Huggins
The Florida coaching staff has done a great job of signing of the best safeties in the country. Trey Dean signed with the Gators during the Early Signing Period and is expected to make a big impact as a freshman. Randy Russell will unfortunately not be able to play football ever again due to a heart condition. Amari Burney was one of Florida’s biggest signings and should get some playing time as a freshman. Burney has enrolled early and is also expected to move to linebacker due to depth purposes. The Gators coaching staff have high expectation for Burney once he grows into a linebacker. John Huggins was a late addition to the Gators class and signed with them even though he wasn’t expected to. Huggins was previously committed to Florida State before signing with the Gators.
K- Evan McPherson
With Eddy Pineiro heading to the NFL, the Gators needed to sign a kicker to replace their All-American. Dan Mullen did a great job of doing that as he flipped Mississippi State commit Evan McPherson to the Gators. McPherson is the nation’s #1 kicker in the country and is expected to start as a true freshman. The Under Armour All-American kicker will have some big shoes to fill as Eddy was Florida’s favorite player. Pineiro was one of the top kickers in the nation and should get drafted into the NFL as a late-round pick. Mullen made McPherson a priority, hopefully, he’s as good as Mullen thinks he is.
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