Florida’s coach saved his class from certain disaster. He can he get his program on the right track to success?
The interesting thing about National Signing Day of the Florida Gators 2022 is that it is a National Signing Day that is not unlike those that took place prior to the introduction of the Early Signing Period.
Gator Nation and Billy Napier’s program will be waiting for some top-flight recruits to call them on Wednesday. Top-flight prospects Jacoby Mathews and Harold Perkins could still grab a Florida hat from a table and wear it to show their commitment. To reach 16 high school commitments in 2022, the Gators required a Tuesday commitment by Jack Pyburn, Jacksonville’s edge rusher (more on this later).
Perkins, a top-10 prospect from Texas, and theleading defensive linebacker prospect this year’s class, would be the only names to raise eyebrows. Mathews is a high-four-star safety from Louisiana and could lure TreVonte’ Citizen over his home-state LSU rating for a bronze medal. Perkins’s preference for Texas A&M has been predominant, with Mathews being more likely to choose between A&M or LSU since his January commitment. Florida would be the only state to land Citizen of the big three as the 247Sports Crystal Ball currently predicts.
Florida also has many other recruits. They are mostly targets for Caleb Douglas and Arlis Boardingham. Hutchinson is someone I support bringing to Gainesville, based solely on his surname. He could fill in some gaps on the roster, even if Mathews and Perkins choose other programs.
The fireworks should start in moments too — although the first one might be Jalen Farmer, a long-term commit, flipping his promise during a commitment ceremony set for 9 a.m. Eastern.
Get ready. Today is going to be an adventure.
10 :40 a.m. The early hours of the morning have brought us a surprising stick and an unsurprising miss.
Jalen Farmer was the first to sign with Florida, despite late interest from other SEC schools. Farmer promoting an Alabama offer last Wednesday and making a commitment on Wednesday morning seemed to indicate that he might end up signing with another team, but the Gators managed to keep him in the fold. It’s a good thing. He looks like a mauler .
This was Caden Story signing with Clemson. The Alabama defensive lineman made a commitment despite a lot of interest from Florida. Story was a goal of the Gators, who had worked to secure him against Auburn and Clemson. Clemson’s recent defensive line production is formidable, so it is not surprising that Story signed. However, any misstep in the trenches could have repercussions for years.
12:30 pm.:The shocking news of the day thus far comes from TreVonte’ Citizen, who isin actual fact leaving the Pelican States for college and heading to Florida — but not Florida.
Five of the six predictions from Crystal Ball for Citizen were for Florida and one was for LSU. The surprising four-star pick for Miami is not surprising.
Florida will likely be fine running back without him, given the returning and incoming talent. However, it never hurts to have more options at one position in football. Bringing in a Louisiana native running backs coach Jabbar Julyuke and Florida’s running backs team would have been an impressive feat. Instead, those spoils will be transferred to Miami.
6 :15 p.m.This was a dud for a National Signing Day in Florida.
These are not mistakes that Florida will regret. Perkins would have made a tremendous addition to this class, and would have propelled the Gators to today’s top news. Mathews and Kamari Wilson would have made a formidable safety tandem in a single recruiting cycle. Citizen would have offered another option for a solid but unproven backfield.
They are also misses, which will likely mean that this recruiting class will be the worst in Florida on paper as of National Signing Day . The Gators are ranked No. 19. The 247Sports Composite rankings of the 2022 cycle show that Jim McElwain & Dan Mullen ranked in transition classes that were No. 21 and No. 14 in 2015, and No.
McElwain’s group had two five-star prospects (MartezIvey and CeCe Jeff) to this class’s zero (Wilson is the highest-rated prospect in it). 43 nationally), and was commanded by three talented offensive commits (Jordan Scarlett and Antonio Callaway); this class doesn’t have an analogue.
We, the fans, will be able to console ourselves with truths. (Florida canstill beat certain foes it has lost to recently, even if it suffered more losses on the recruiting trail. Because anything could happen, it’s possible). Until then, the games resume in earnest.
The dirty little secret is that we would have told more truths and half-truths if we were in a better class. It’s still talk season and the all-consuming discourse hates a vacuum as much as ever.
These days, the only thing that can change is the volume.