With the early signing period now behind us a majority of the Florida Gators recruiting class is now complete. With a few pieces still in play, It’s time to give a report card on the class now and what it could be when the rest of the letters dry in February.
Quarterback- This Quarterback class is the worst I have ever seen and the worst it has been in a long time. With that being said, Dan Mullen went out and got “his guy” in 4 star dual threat quarterback Jalon Jones. Jones was a long time commit to Mullen at Mississippi State and after a brief stint of an open recruitment he eventually committed to mullen for a second time. While some may question his throwing motion, Jones checks all the boxes of the traditional Mullen quarterback. He’s a winner, leader, an athletic and great runner, and makes those around him better. I trust whatever Dan Mullen does at the quarterback position and have no doubt he can make Jones into a future starter at the most important position.
Running Back- Early on in the process Wright was a borderline 5 star before missing all of his junior season due to injury. The Gators willingness to stand by him in the recruiting process throughout his injury proved to be the difference. While everyone is going to complain about the staff missing on their number one overall target after Trey Sanders signed with Alabama. The Future of the running back position is still bright with Malik Davis, Dameon Pierce, and Nay’Quan Wright and that is without even accounting for the possibility of Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine returning for their senior year. Wright gets an A but missing on Sanders hurts the grade
Wide Receiver: This is arguably the most interesting position on the board. On paper it won’t wow you however, due to the lack of immediate help at the position for 2019, it is probably the least important position group of the entire class. The staff believes they have a gem in 3 star Ja’markis Weston. No spin, I do as well. At 6’3”/205 he sure looks the part. At Florida’s “Friday Night Lights”, in July, he dominated in 1 on 1 drills. He might not be vocal or the most known kid but he’s got the potential to be a good one. The other commits include Deland 3 star Dionte Marks who could arguably be the fastest kid committed in the 2019 class. Marks projects to be a slot WR at the next level. Listed as a 3 star athlete, UF legacy Trent Whitmore is expected to be a WR at the next level. The remaining targets include the two biggest fish at the position on Florida’s board. 4 star WR Arjei Henderson out of Houston is in the process of setting up a visit in January while 5 star Auburn commit George Pickens is rumored to be visiting UF as well next month. With those 2 still on the board, and a loaded 2020 class at the position, the future of the WR room still looks promising.
Grade: C with the possibility of being a B in February
Offensive Line: Every Florida fans remembers last years questionable, at best, offensive line recruiting performance. The possibility to have three elite offensive linemen and only ending up inking one caused a near fanbase twitter firing of John Hevesy before even coaching a game. Fast forward 10 months and the Offensive Line is fresh off its best season in years. Due to losing three starters to graduation and Likely Jawaan Taylor to the draft. The gators have 7 Offensive linemen committed. Four of which are 4 stars (Wardwick Wilson, Deyavie Hammond, William Herod, and Michael Tarquin) along with three 3 star guards (Riley Simonds, Kingsley Eguakun, and Ethan White). Overall Florida got some future starters and at worst some quality depth. The Offensive line could have been trending towards a disaster, like it was when Jim McElwain took over in 2015, but credit to Hevesy for fixing it.
Tight End: Florida beat out Miami and Todd Hartley for Keon Zipperer. That might be one of the biggest wins of the cycle for Florida.
Offensive Class grade: B+
Defensive line: Aside from 4 star Defensive tackle Jaelin Humphries……. Yikes. Fix it in January.
Linebacker: Give Christian Robinson a raise. After years of incompetence at the linebacker board under former linebacker coach and defensive coordinator Randy Shannon, Robinson looks to have alleviated that incompetence. Robinson quickly came in and landed the Gators the best linebackers class in years with the potential for it to be one of the best in school history. A trio of Adidas All Americans including Diwun Black, Tyron Hopper, and Mohamoud Diabate, along with 3 star backer Jesiah Pierre, who’s ranking is highly underrated mostly because he attends a small christian school and does not camp, makes up the entirety of this class. Additionally, landing the apparent heir to Jachai Polite at the BUCK position in 4 star Lakeland OLB Lloyd Summerall helps the class grade a lot. This class will prove to be the foundation and future of the Gator defense for years to come
Defensive Back- Defensive Back University. The Florida Gators have two DB’s committed in 4 Star Louisana cornerback Chester Kimbrough who appears to be the future at the nickel spot in Todd Grantham’s defense along with 4 star Alabama DB Jaydon Hill who can be either a corner or a safety. Those two along with Diwun Black, who could very well move from the linebacker room to the safety group, make up a currently solid core of defensive backs. The remaining targets are the prizes of the class. 5 Star corner Chris Steele out of St John Bosco in California will be announcing his commitment at the Adidas All American Game January 5th and enrolling early to his school of choice. Also, long time UF lean Kaiir Elam rounds out a remaining DB board that UF has a chance to sweep. Besides those two, Florida continues to quietly work on getting long time 5 star FSU CB commit Akeem Dent on campus for a visit in January. Overall, pending a disaster, Steele and Elam should be in the class and will likely be the future greats at corner once Marco Wilson and CJ Henderson declare to the NFL.
Grade:A Rising to A+ with Steele and Elam
Defensive Grade: Todd Grantham had an elite transformation of this defense without any of “his guys” This defensive class has the possibility to be special
Defensive grade at the Early signing period mark: A
Overall class grade after ESD: A- , With six weeks until the February Signing period Dan Mullen gets an A- for his first class in charge. Close out strong on the defensive line, secondary and possibly another WR and it can be even more successful than top classes UF has signed in recent years.