Some quick notes on Florida Gator targets from a busy recruiting weekend.
Top Gator running back target four star Jordan Cronkite is shutting down his recruitment. He will be skipping his final visit next weekend according to ESPN recruiting analyst Derek Tyson. He will make his announcement between Florida and West Virginia on national signing day.
Speaking of commitments, the Gators picked up their ninth commitment on Sunday when Miami (FL) Norland LB Rayshad Jackson pulled the trigger.
Jackson chose the Gators over Arkansas who offered him when current Gators linebacker coach Randy Shannon was LB coach for the Razorbacks.
His commitment is huge considering it had been over a month since the Gators last commitment.
Former Florida WR commit Tristan Payton committed to UCF on Sunday during his official visit to Orlando. He had decommitted from Southern Cal on Friday and there was speculation the Gators could be a player in his recruitment going forward but he ended that with his announcement Sunday via Twitter.
Another four star receiver the Gators have in their sights, Van Jefferson from Brentwood (TN), who recently decommitted from Georgia, reportedly will be announcing his choice of schools within the next 48 hours per Derek Tyson.
This is likely bad news for the Gators, who are looking for a couple more playmaking receivers this cycle, as they were in line for a visit next weekend from Jefferson. The news comes off an unofficial to Ole Miss where there have been rumors that he has committed to the Rebels.
With perhaps both of those receivers off the board it will be important for the Gators to keep Derrick Dillon who visited the home state LSU last weekend and reel in Ryan Davis.
Speaking of Ryan Davis, he visited Florida this weekend, shunning Alabama where he was scheduled to travel. The visit went very well for both Davis and the Gators by all accounts.
He looked happy on his home visit with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and Tampa area recruiter and receiver’s coach Kirk Callahan on January 21st.
And then he retweeted a pic of him and official visitor rb Jordan Scarlett in Gator jersey’s.
The Gators staff is feeling good about where they stand with Davis.
Speaking of Jordan Scarlett, the Miami Booker T. Washington four star rb appeared to have a great visit to Florida as well according to Andrew Spivey of Gatorcountry.
“It was great man, I had a great time,” Scarlett said. “” got to hang out with some of the players that I already knew and some of the recruits that I have gotten to know. I had a great time. I got to hang out with Quincy [Wilson] and Brandon Powell. Those are good friends.”
Scarlett is a huge target as a back with size and really good speed. The Gators want to take at least two and undoubtedly they’d love to have both Scarlett and Cronkite.
Philadelphia (PA) defensive end Shareef Miller, who had flirted with the Gators since receiving an offer a couple of weeks ago, committed to the home state school Penn State on Sunday during his official visit there.
For the late charging Gators, distance and time were simply too much to overcome with Miller.
Defensive end Quandeski Whitlow from Opelika (AL) who the Gators were trying to flip from South Carolina announced via Twitter that he was firm with South Carolina and would not be taking an official visit to Florida next weekend as planned.
Steve Spurrier did a good job securing his commitment which appeared to be in doubt.
With the rash of plan B defensive ends backing off of Florida, does it mean the staff feels confident in top targets Byron Cowart and CeCe Jefferson?
Cowart had to cut his Florida visit short due to his mom’s work issues which led to speculation he wasn’t happy.
Cowart himself took to Twitter with a statement about it and basically said he’d be shutting down his recruitment until signing day.
CeCe took an unofficial visit to Ole Miss this weekend, the school he announced as his leader over a month ago. He appeared to enjoy his visit and relished the attention of the weekend particularly with the Gator basketball in town for a Saturday matchup with Ole Miss.
No commitment from Jefferson but his father did tweet some info:
Guntersville, AL defensive tackle/offensive guard Steven Clark, a Syracuse commit whom the Gators are trying to flip, appeared to enjoy his official visit to Gainesville and now will make a decision between Syracuse and Florida on Monday evening.
In comments made to Luke Stampini he appeared to be highly impressed with Florida.
“It was awesome,” Clark said of the official visit. “I loved it. We hung out a lot and talked to the coaches and all that. They were all pretty cool. I talked to some of the players and all that. The fan support here is amazing. It was awesome, so that’s something to consider.”
Later in the story he may have implied his intentions to commit to Florida as the Syracuse coaching staff apparently upset at his visit may have quit talking to him.
“They haven’t really been talking to me a lot. I can tell they aren’t happy with me visiting here. They don’t like me being here and all that, but they can just get over it for now.”
Another recruit the Gators were taking a late look at is mammoth offensive lineman Sam Madden (6-7 345) from Bernegat (NJ). Madden gave a verbal pledge to rival Georgia on Sunday while on his official visit to Athens according to MaxPreps.
Four star defensive end Jabari Zuniga from Marietta (GA) Sprayberry visited Arkansas this past weekend and appeared to enjoy his visit according to Otis Kirk of 247sports.
“The visit was great,” Zuniga said. “I mean I like the coaching staff. My favorite part was probably was the football facilities they look nice. It’s a great family atmosphere. It was great.”
The N.C.State commit visited the Gators last weekend and says those three schools are his finalists.
He is expected to announce his decision on Monday.
Finally, so far not much on four star quarterback and FSU commit Deondre Francois from IMG Academy in Bradenton (FL). Twitter chatter speculation has been that he enjoyed his visit but remains committed to FSU. There is speculation that he removed “FSU commit” from his twitter profile. Hopefully more on him later as he is the guy the staff really covets this cycle. The other quarterback they’re chasing is Louisville commit Lamar Jackson from Boynton Beach (FL) who will be visiting next weekend, the final weekend before national signing day on February 4th.
Stay tuned to Swamp Music for the latest updates on Florida Gator recruiting news and analysis.