Florida’s lengthy rebuild beneath Billy Napier reached a key mile marker Dec. 21 on Early Signing Day.
The Gators inked a 20-player class ranked No. 12, in accordance with 247Sports.
Napier and Co. intention so as to add to the category earlier than Signing Day Feb. 1.
“We’re going to continue to be aggressive,” Napier mentioned. “We’ll evaluate every player that’s left over. Typically about 85 percent of the players will sign early.”
Offensive line is an excellent greater precedence following the switch of veterans Ethan White and Michael Tarquin. White introduced his choice Dec. 24, two days after Tarquin.
Florida did signal six defensive backs, 4 of them ranked amongst 247Sports’ prime 230 prospects, to assist offset attrition within the secondary.
The newest departure is security Rashad Torrence II who’s leaving a 12 months early for the NFL after main the Gators with 84 tackles. On Dec. 23, the Gators secondary misplaced starter Tre’Vez Johnson together with reserve Jordan Young.
The Gators bolstered their defensive entrance a day later when Cam’Ron Jackson introduced his switch from Memphis to Gainesville. The 6-foot-6, 340-pound Jackson was a first-year starter for the Tigers in 2022, recording 41 tackles and 20 quarterback hurries to earn third crew All-AAC honors from Pro Football Focus.
Jackson is a redshirt sophomore and native of Haynesville, La., who dedicated to LSU in 2020 because the nation’s No. 56 defensive sort out earlier than touchdown at Memphis.
Florida signed a number of defensive linemen within the 2023 class, headlined by Kelby Collins of Gardendale, Ala., Orlando Olympia’s Kamran James and Will Norman of Camden, N.J.
The 2023 crew is at present to trace to switch 12 starters following draft selections, transfers and the expiration of eligibility.
The Gators have seen many gamers search greener pastures following a 6-7 season. Meanwhile, Florida has signed two transfers, Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz and Louisville defensive lineman Caleb Banks. Ohio State linebacker Teradja Mitchell additionally plans to switch to Gainesville, the Orlando Sentinel has realized.
Florida is also more likely to goal gamers at present enjoying in bowl video games.
Napier mentioned final spring he and his workers deliberate to be “very aggressive” within the switch market and herald gamers totaling within the double-digits. Following these feedback, Arizona State receiver Ricky Pearsall was the one influence participant to signal. He joined offensive linemen O’Cyrus Torrence and Kamryn Waites together with tailback Montrell Johnson Jr., who adopted Napier from Louisiana in January. Last December, quarterback Jack Miller II transferred from Ohio State.
Stay tuned …
Vitals: 6-foot, 202 kilos
Resumé: Torrence was a 4-star prospect out of Marietta, Ga., ranked the nation’s No. 33 security and No. 335 prospect total by 247Sports.
Role: Torrence began 23 video games throughout 34 appearances in three seasons at Florida. Torrence led the 2022 Gators with 84 tackles, and completed with 186 throughout his profession. He added 3 interceptions, 6 passes defensed and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Outlook: Florida should exchange each its beginning safeties, together with Trey Dean, the crew’s second-leading tackler. All advised, the Gators lose their prime 5 tacklers. Torrence was a stable participant, however at instances a step gradual to the soccer and missed tackles. Even so, Florida returns simply two safeties with experiences, promising Kamari Wilson, the highest recruit within the 2022 class, and fellow freshman Miguel Mitchell.
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 331 kilos
Resumé: White was a 3-star prospect out of Clearwater thought-about a challenge. 247Sports composite rated him the No. 103 offensive sort out prospect and No. 795 total within the 2019 class.The 2023 crew is at present to trace to switch 12 starters following draft selections, transfers and the expiration of eligibility.
Role: White arrived weight almost 400 kilos, however shed greater than 50 kilos and advanced rapidly. White was projected to be the beginning heart in 2020, however a knee damage value him the vast majority of the season. He finally began 20 video games at guard, together with 13 in 2022 when he earn second-team All-SEC honors.
Outlook: White’s announcement was a Christmas Eve stunner and main loss. He didn’t enable a sack in 2022, in accordance with Pro Football Focus. With White and Tarquin’s departures, the Gators should exchange 4 of 5 starters on the offensive line. All-America guard O’Cyrus Torrence left for the NFL whereas fifth-year senior Richard Gouraige additionally moved on.
Tre’Vez Johnson, Jordan Young
Vitals: Johnson 5-foot-11, 194 kilos, Young 6-0, 192.
Resumé: Johnson was a 3-star prospect out of Jacksonville many thought-about an under-the-radar signee within the 2020 class. Young was 4-star recruit out of Tampa in 2021 rated the nation’s No. 30 cornerback prospect.
Role: Johnson, a third-year sophomore, was pressured into motion as a first-year participant, suffered severe rising pains and did not finally fulfill his potential, despite the fact that he’s the one Gator to document an interception every of the previous three seasons. In 2022, he began 9 video games on the crew’s STAR place, a quasi-nickel again. He recorded 26 tackles, recovered 2 fumbles and recorded 2 go breakups and an interception. Young’s finest efficiency at Florida was throughout the 2022 spring recreation. A 4-star recruit out of Tampa in 2021, Young appeared in 13 video games with the Gators, recording 11 tackles, a go breakup and a blocked kick throughout the Dec. 17 Las Vegas Bowl, a 30-3 loss to Oregon State.
Outlook: Florida ought to climate the losses. The Gators return beginning cornerbacks Jason Marshall and Jaydon Hill, together with Georgia switch Jalen Kimber, who broke his hand and by no means fulfilled his promise. Napier additionally signed six defensive backs within the 2023 class.
Vitals: 6-foot-5, 320 kilos
Resumé: A fourth-year redshirt sophomore from Ocala, the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Tarquin was the nation’s No. 22 offensive sort out prospect within the 2019 class.
Role: Tarquin primarily spent his profession as a reserve. He stepped in at proper sort out for Jean Delance this season and began seven video games, but additionally suffered a Week 2 foot damage that held again Tarquin.
Outlook: Tarquin introduced Dec. 30 he signed with USC after transferring from Florida every week earlier. Florida faces main questions at offensive sort out. Redshirt freshman sort out Austin Barber loved a breakout season for Florida, however skilled depth is a serious query mark. Florida signed one offensive sort out within the ‘23 class, 3-start prospect Bryce Lovett of Rockledge. The 6-foot-5, 336-pound Lovett is viewed as a project. “Bryce is very young for his age,” Napier said “Probably should be a junior. Still very much growing. His senior film is really impressive. Certainly he’s a man who will get in this system and grows a bit. He’s obtained a brilliant future in entrance of him.”
Vitals: 6-foot-3, 225 kilos
Resumé: Mertz was a 4-star prospect and the nations’ third-rated professional type quarterback out of Mission, Kansas.
Role: The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Mertz began 32 video games for Wisconsin. He accomplished 59.5% of his throws and compiled 4,405 passing yards with 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions throughout his profession. The Badgers completed simply 6-6 in 2022. Mertz accomplished 57.3% of his throws with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Outlook: Mertz will assist Napier handle a important want and a bridge to the long run. California highschool Jaden Rashada is the centerpiece of the 2023 class whereas fellow 5-star prospect DJ Lagway dedicated for 2024. Rashada be part of Ohio State switch Jack Miller II and true freshman Max Brown because the crew’s scholarship sign callers. Miller, who didn’t play this season after breaking his thumb in August, and struggled throughout a 30-3 loss to Oregon State within the Las Vegas Bowl. Anthony Richardson left for the NFL and Jalen Kitna’s dismissal after his arrest on little one pornography prices.
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 232 kilos
Resumé: Mitchell, a former 5-star recruit from Virginia Beach, has one 12 months of eligibility remaining after enjoying in simply 4 video games this season.
Role: One of six crew captains in 2021, Mitchell recorded 63 tackles, 7 for loss and recorded a go break up throughout 43 video games (eight begins) over 5 seasons for the Buckeye.
Outlook: The Gators’ linebacker room will lose its anchor, Ventrell Miller, and one of many prime playmakers on protection, Amari Burney. Promising first-year participant Shemar James provides hope for the long run whereas redshirt freshman Scooby Williams performed loads of significant snaps. Meanwhile, Derek Wingo, the second-rated participant in Florida’s 2020 class, lastly confirmed some constructive indicators. 2023 class member Jaden Robinson, a 4-star prospect from Lake City, is the nation’s No. 31 participant at his place.
Vitals: 6-foot-7, 300 kilos
Resumé: Banks was a 3-star prospect out of Southfield, Mich., rated the nation’s 117th defensive lineman and No. 968 total prospect in 2021.
Role: Banks didn’t see the sector a lot throughout two years at Louisville, showing in eight video games. He recorded 2 tackles, a sack and compelled a fumble.
Outlook: Banks seems to be a challenge, however will present inside line of defense depth the Gators want after Gervon Dexter left for the NFL and Jalen Lee transferred.
Lloyd Summerall III
Vitals: 6-foot-5, 231 kilos
Resumé: Summerall was a 4-star prospect out of Lakeland High rated the nation’s No. 15 weakside finish prospect and No. 243 total recruit within the 2019 class.
Role: Summerall appeared in all however one recreation in 2022 totally on particular groups, ending with 6 tackles. Following Brenton Cox Jr.’s dismissal, Summerall noticed a bit extra enjoying time and recovered a fumble on Nov. 5 at Texas A&M and recorded 3 tackles, 0.5 for loss, Nov. 25 at Florida State. He additionally performed in 12 video games in 2021, recording 5 tackles, together with a half sack.
Outlook: The emergence of Princely Umanmielen and Antwaun Powell-Ryland Jr., together with the anticipated return of Justus Boone, provides the sting of the Gators protection one thing to construct on. St. Petersburg Lakewood’s T.J. Searcy, the nation’s No. 28 edge participant per 247Sports, has dedicated to the Gators.
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 241 kilos
Resumé: Borders was the nation’s No. 37 linebacker prospect and No. 328 total recruit in 2021 out of Heard County (Carrollton, Ga.).
Role: Borders appeared in all 12 video games this season, totally on particular groups, and recorded 2 tackles. In 2021, he performed 4 video games earlier than redshirting.
Outlook: Borders was unable to influence at a place of want. Even with the lack of Miller and Burney, Borders didn’t see at future given the emergence of James, Williams and Wingo.
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 299 kilos
Resumé: Lee was the nation’s No. 37 defensive sort out prospect and No. 365 total recruit in 2020 out of Live Oak.
Role: Lee began Florida’s first three video games of the season at nostril sort out earlier than dropping the beginning job to Desmond Watson. Lee, a sophomore in his third 12 months, completed the 12 months with 8 tackles in 12 video games.
Outlook: The Gators’ inside line of defense is a prime precedence. Along with Lee’s switch, prime sort out Gervon Dexter is leaving for the NFL draft. Florida’s 2023 class options a number of with potential, together with Alabama’s Kelby Collins, Kamran James of Orlando Olympia and IMG Academy’s Will Norman. The 6-foot-5, 415-pound Watson, a sophomore, goals to enhance his conditioning and lateral motion to construct on a season when he totaled 23 tackles, together with 1.5 sacks. Chris McClellan was more and more efficient as a first-year participant, ending with 21 stops (2.5 sacks). Redshirt freshman Tyreak Sapp confirmed promise whereas recording 19 tackles.
Vitals: 6-foot-1, 238 kilos
Resumé: Reese was the nation’s No. 20 linebacker prospect and No. 297 total recruit in 2018 out of Vero Beach High.
Role: Reese appeared in 12 video games in 2022, making 2 tackles, after not enjoying in 2021. This after an damage plagued two seasons. He tore his Achilles tendon in 2019, returned in 2020 and appeared in 5 video games earlier than one other season-ending damage.
Outlook: Reese isn’t a serious loss, however the Gators’ linebackers room has many query marks going ahead.
Donovan McMillion, Corey Collier
Vitals: McMillion: 6-foot-1, 205. Collier: 6-1, 179.
Resumé: McMillion was a 4-star prospect out of Canonsburg, Pa., rated because the nation’s No. 12 security and No. 187 total recruit within the 2021 class. Collier was the No. 6 security prospect and No. 106 total in 2021 after a adorned profession at Miami Palmetto enjoying alongside future Florida cornerback Jason Marshall.
Role: McMillon appeared throughout Florida’s 12 video games as a reserve and a particular groups fixture, totaling 20 whole tackles. He had 5 in opposition to Eastern Washington and a sort out for loss at Texas A&M. The sophomore’s lack of top-end velocity restricted him. Collier appeared in 4 video games, together with Nov. 25 at Florida State. He managed simply 1 sort out this season on Oct. 2 in opposition to Eastern Washington. Collier struggled to placed on the majority required a the place.
Outlook: The Gators search solutions on the again finish of the protection. Veterans Trey Dean and Rashad Torrence II had been productive on paper, ending first and second in tackles with 77 and 76, respectively. Florida’s safeties additionally missed too many stops and suffered protection breakdowns. Dean is in his fifth 12 months, whereas Torrence, a three-year starter, has one other 12 months of eligibility. First-year freshman Kamari Wilson, the top-rated member of the 2022 class, is a future drive coming off a career-high 8 tackles at FSU. Freshman Miguel Mitchell II additionally will compete for snaps on the again finish of the protection.
Lorenzo Lingard, Nay’Quan Wright
Vitals: Lingard: 6-foot, 209 kilos; Wright: 5-9, 202.
Resumé: Lingard: A 5-star prospect out of University High School, Lingard was the nation’s 2nd-rated working again and No. 25 total prospect within the 2018 class, per 247Sports composite rankings. Wright: A 4-star prospect and No. 16 working again prospect in 2019 out of Miami Carol City, the place he averaged 10.8 yards a carry as a senior in 2018.
Role: Lingard’s ineffectiveness has baffled since his 2020 arrival from Miami, the place he performed one season. Lingard remained a fascination for a phase of followers. Consider his Oct. 15 efficiency in opposition to LSU when Lingard capitalized on significant snaps throughout a 45-35 loss. He ran with authority to whole 23 yards on 4 touches, together with 7 on a Third-and-6 display go after dragging a defender a number of yards. But Lingard didn’t construct on the hassle, totaling 14 yards on 2 carries the common season’s closing 5 video games.
Meanwhile, Wright loved a bigger function and began the season’s first 4 video games till Johnson and Trevor Etienne eclipsed the redshirt junior. A season after he totaled 504 yards from scrimmage, Wright missed a lot of the spring with a foot damage requiring surgical procedure and by no means discovered his stride. He completed this season with 190 dashing yards on 47 carries, averaging simply 4 yards an try — greater than 2 yards fewer than Johnson and Etienne.
Outlook: No ability place is in higher form. Johnson and Etienne kind a formidable 1-2 punch. The duo mixed for 1,532 dashing yards, together with 42 runs of 10 yards or longer (Johnson 25, Etienne 17), and 16 touchdowns. Jacksonville 4-star prospect Treyaun Webb additionally dedicated within the 2023 class. Webb, the nephew of former Florida cornerback Dee Webb, is the nation’s No. 12 working again prospect.
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 204 kilos
Resumé: A 4-star prospect out of Loganville, Ga., Reynolds was the nation’s Twenty fourth-rated receiver and No. 293 prospect within the 2021 class.
Role: The redshirt freshman introduced his choice Nov. 30, lower than two weeks since a profession day at Vanderbilt. During a 31-24 loss in Nashville, he completed with 8 catches for 165 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Reynolds generated buzz throughout spring practices and preseason practices, however till breakout efficiency at Vanderbilt managed simply 3 catches for 89 yards — highlighted by a 54-yard catch Oct. 2 in opposition to Eastern Washington. He finishes his Florida profession with 11 catches.
Outlook: The Gators want confirmed pass-catchers. Pearsall might declare for the NFL draft on the heels of a 148-yard, 2-touchdown night time at Florida State. Justin Shorter’s eligibility has expired. Ja’Quavion Fraziars has struggled get on the sector for 3 seasons. Reynolds was amongst of group of younger receivers, together with Caleb Douglas, anticipated to have key roles in 2023.
Vitals: 6-foot-1, 170 kilos
Resumé: A 4-star prospect out of Missouri City, Texas, Helm was the nation’s Twenty fourth-rated cornerback prospect within the 2020. He is blessed with 4.3-second velocity within the 40-yard sprint and a 40-inch vertical leap.
Role: Helm began the season’s first 4 video games till Jaydon Hill changed him. Helm began 9 of 11 appearances in 2012, totaling 22 tackles and three passes defended as a redshirt freshman.
Outlook: Helms’ Nov. 28 choice to go away was not sudden given the Gators’ cornerback depth. Hill and Marshall began the previous eight video games collectively. Kimber, the No. 9 cornerback within the 2020 class, performed many of the season with a damaged hand. Kissimmee Osceola’s Ja’Keem Jackson and Jacksonville’s Sharif Denson are extremely touted cornerbacks anticipated to signal Dec. 21.
WR Trent Whittemore
Vitals: 6-foot-3, 206 kilos
Resumé: Whittemore performed receiver, security and even quarterback as a 3-star prospect out of Gainesville Buchholz. He was the 103rd-ranked prospect out of Florida within the 2019 class.
Role: Whittemore confirmed ball expertise, positive arms and toughness out of the slot early in his profession, but additionally a propensity for damage. He broke ribs throughout a 2020 win in opposition to Arkansas and has had hamstring points. Whittemore recorded 19 catches for 210 yards and a rating in 2021, positioning himself for a key function this season. Pearsall’s signing marginalized Whittemore, who made 4 catches for 87 yards in seven video games. Whittemore took half within the crew’s Senior Day Nov. 14 in opposition to South Carolina, signaling the tip of his profession at Florida.
Outlook: With the lack of Shorter and Pearsall’s potential departure, Whittemore would have joined Xzavier Henderson as a veteran pass-catcher. Youngsters Douglas, Reynolds, Marcus Burke and Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman have proven flashes but additionally inconsistency. The Gators are also on observe to signal a proficient receiving crop, together with Orlando Boone’s Aidan Mizell and Tampa Gaither’s Eugene Wilson III, each top-150 recruits, and Miami’s Andy Jean, one other 4-star ranked No. 50 nationally at his place.
Vitals: 6-foot-3, 223 kilos
Resumé: Black did not qualify academically after he signed with Florida’s 2019 class because the nation’s No. 151 total prospect. Black would return and signal once more after he turned the No. 1 JUCO recruit in 2021 out Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College..
Role: Dismissed by Napier on Nov. 16, Black performed in simply 4 video games this season, recording 3 tackles. The spotlight was a one-handed restoration of an onside kick throughout the closing moments Nov. 24 at Tennessee, showcasing Black’s instincts and athletic means. He appeared in 10 video games final 12 months, ending with 4 whole tackles, however adopted with a promising spring.
Outlook: Black by no means discovered a match at Florida. He was a ‘tweener — too massive to play security, the place he starred in highschool, and a bit gentle for the trials at inside linebacker, the place he lined up throughout the spring. Coaches additionally tried him at nickel again.
Vitals: 6-foot-6, 351 kilos
Resumé: A 4-star prospect out of Live Oak in 2020, Braun was the nation’s No. 21 offensive sort out prospect. He quickly moved to protect when he arrived to Gainesville.
Role: After totaling 639 snaps throughout 13 video games (seven begins) as a sophomore, Braun performed simply 24 performs in seven video games after Torrence changed him at proper guard. Braun, although, misplaced the backup function to Richie Leonard IV, who began in opposition to LSU when Torrence was out with a knee damage.
Outlook: Leonard acquitted himself effectively throughout his first profession begin for a unit that was among the many 2022 crew’s most constant. Former Florida State commit Roderick Kearney of Orange Park flipped to the Gators Oct. 24 to offer Braun additional doubts about his future at Florida. Kearny is the nation’s No. 5 guard prospect and 121 total recruit in 2023. Braun, who visited Florida State on Nov. 15, shall be a redshirt sophomore and have three years of eligibility on account of a COVID 12 months.
Vitals: 6-foot-6, 234 kilos
Resumé: A 4-star prospect out of Jacksonville, Elksnis was the nation’s No. 18 tight finish prospect within the 2020 class. He battled shoulder accidents that led to his choice.
Role: Elksnis performed within the first 5 video games as a reserve and particular groups participant, however introduced Nov. 15 his choice to switch. As a freshman he performed in 4 video games and redshirted. He didn’t document a reception at Florida.
Outlook: The Gators tight finish room options veteran Keon Zipperer and Jonathan Odom, a sophomore with 5 catches and a pair of touchdowns the previous three video games. Freshmen Hayden Hansen and Arlis Boardingham are also on scholarship.
Vitals: 6-foot-1, 193 kilos
Resumé: A 4-star prospect, Wilcoxson signed with the Gators as a late addition to their 2020 recruiting class on the age of 17 after he reclassified from the category of 2021. The nation’s No. 30 security and No. 308 total recruit, Wilcoxson spent his highschool profession between Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson and IMG Academy.
Role: Wilcoxson confirmed some early promise. During his first profession look in opposition to Missouri in 2020, he recovered a fumble and posted a sort out. He made a pair of tackles throughout the Gators’ 55-20 loss to Oklahoma within the 2020 Cotton Bowl. But he missed the 2021 season with a knee damage and by no means discovered a task beneath the brand new workers, recording 2 tackles in 2 video games.
Outlook: The Gators will lose veteran sturdy security Trey Dean, however return main tackler Rashad Torrence II at free security. First-year freshman Kamari Wilson, the top-rated member of the 2022 class, is a future drive coming off a career-high 8 tackles at FSU. Sophomore Donovan Mitchell and freshman Miguel Mitchell II additionally will compete for snaps on the again finish of the protection.
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 288 kilos
Resumé: A 3-star prospect out of Leesburg, Ga., McDowell signed in 2018 as a challenge, rated No. 1,481 nationally.
Role: McDowell performed on each side of the soccer as he tried to discover a function. He began as an offensive lineman, switched to defensive sort out and moved to tight finish final spring. He appeared in three video games this season after getting on the sector in 22 video games on particular groups the previous two seasons. In 2019, McDowell noticed motion in 13 video games as reserve offensive lineman.
Fit: McDowell’s altering function makes his departure one the Gators are unlikely to note.
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 236 kilos
Resumé: A member of the 2018 out of Benedictine High School in Richmond, Va., Ortiz was not rated by recruiting companies.
Role: The redshirt junior lengthy snapper performed only one recreation in 2022 after injuring his shoulder. He can apply for a medical hardship waiver to obtain two seasons at his subsequent cease.
Outlook: Following Ortiz’s damage, Lake Mary’s Rocco Underwood, a redshirt freshman, stepped into the lengthy snapper function. During an Oct. 15 loss LSU, Underwood recovered a fumbled punt to arrange a landing.