Gainesville, Fla.—- With National Signing Day just 16 days away, we look at the remaining targets for the Gators and who’s visiting.
The Gators just got a big time commitment on Saturday from 4-star wide receiver Justin Watkins out of Clermont. Watkins played in the Under Armour All-American game and showed his speed against premier defensive backs.
The Gators wide receiver class is ascending and looks to peak if Dan Mullen can land his #1 guy, Jacob Copeland. Copeland was once committed to the Gators but backed off of his pledge after former head coach Jim McElwain was fired in late October. The speedy 6 foot, 192 pound wide receiver from Escambia High School just made a visit to Texas A&M this past weekend and plans on visiting Alabama this weekend and then the University of Florida the following week, before making his decision on National Signing Day. It is said to be a Gators/Crimson Tide battle.
A major area of need for Dan Mullen’s staff this recruiting cycle is offensive line. The recruiting on the offensive line the last 3 years has been average at best. This coming weekend the Gators will have a chance to land one of the best as the nation’s #2 Offensive Tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere from Berkeley Prep in Tampa will be on campus making his official visit. Petit-Frere has had an interesting recruitment thus far and it seems there are multiple schools in play. Petit-Frere is scheduled to make his final visit to Ohio State right before National Signing Day. This is a 4 school race at this point, between Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, and Alabama.
Another Tampa recruit will be joining Petit-Frere: 4-star OT Richard Gouraige will be making his official visit to Gainesville this weekend. Gouraige is committed to the Gators but has seemed to waiver on his pledge by not signing in December and has been on official visits this entire month. Gouraige was at Clemson two weeks ago and at Ole Miss this past weekend. The Gators need to get Gouraige to shut down his recruitment this weekend or this one could be a nail biter between Florida, Clemson, and Ole Miss.
4-star OT William Barnes out of Apopka will be in Gainesville on February 2nd. Barnes has been on Florida’s big board for awhile now and has several other schools trying to lure him out of the state. North Carolina made gains on Barnes when he officially visited Chapel Hill two weeks ago. Barnes and his teammate 3-star OG Ed Montilus will both be on campus for their official visits right before Signing Day and Dan Mullen would love to secure both signatures. It seems that it is a 2 school race for Barnes and Montilus between Florida and North Carolina.
Switching to the “other side of the ball” we look at the Gators defensive big board.
The Gators had big time defensive tackle and Miami commit Nesta Silvera on campus this past weekend and from all reports, he had a great time and grew real close to the staff and other players. Silvera has an SEC body already and would play early and often. If Mullen can flip Silvera before Signing Day it would be a huge coup for the Gators rookie head coach. Miami has the edge here just based on Silvera being a hard commit for so long, but do not be shocked if he is chomping on National Signing Day.
The Gators are also looking to land 4-star JUCO Defensive End, Dorian Gerald. Gerald visits Ole Miss this weekend but will be in Gainesville next weekend for his final official visit.
4-star defensive tackle and Auburn commit Coynis Miller will be in Gainesville for his final official visit next week. Miller is explosive for his 300 pound frame and would be a huge get for the Gators. It is a 3 school battle for his services at this point between Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee.
The Gators also had 4-star cornerback and former Maryland commit Noah Boykin on campus for an official visit this past weekend and all reports indicate he will be flipping to the Gators. Boykin is 6’2″ and can play corner or safety. This would be a great addition to a thinning secondary in the coming years.
These Florida targets will be updated as we get closer to National Signing Day. Follow In All Kinds of Weather for up to the minute updates these next two weeks.