FROM: CONNER CLARKE
10:00 AM, 1/7/2019
Heading into the final stretch of the 2019 recruiting class the Big 3 Roll Up takes a look at how Dan Mullen and his staff have done on the trail thus far.
The Gators recruiting class currently sits at number 11 in the country per 247 sports composite rankings with 21 or their 23 commits having already signed their national letter of intent. Of those 21 that signed 11 will be enrolling at the university any day now and getting a jump start on their college careers by being able to go through spring practice with the team. Among them are Chris Steele, Mohamoud Diabate, Michael Tarquin, and William Harrod, all blue-chip players at big time positions of need that could see playing time early in their Florida careers.
Offensive Line: (Deyavie Hammond, Micheal Tarquin, William Harrod, Wardrick Wilson, Riley Simonds, Ethan White, and Kingsley Eguakun.)
Linebackers: (Tyron Hopper, Mohamoud Diabate, Diwun Black, Lloyd Summerall, and Jesiah Pierre)
Just on numbers alone you can consider the offensive line as a huge strength of this class and the numbers are very much needed considering what the Gators are set to lose. With seniors Martez Ivey, Tyler Jordan and Fred Johnson graduating and junior Jawaan Taylor declaring early for the draft the Gators will be losing 4 of their 5 starters from last year’s unit that continued to get better as the season went on. The Gators do return last year and the year before starting centers Nick Buchanan and TJ McCoy and guard Brett Heggie who couldn’t seem to stay healthy last season, aside from those three the Gators are very limited on bodies with in-game experience. With everything the Gators are losing you can see the importance of not only getting a high number of bodies along the offensive line for this class but a high caliber of player as well with 4 of the 7 signees being 4-star recruits according to 247 sports composite rankings.
In my opinion the Linebacker class is the strongest part of the Gators 2019 class. Filled with blue-chip prospects from around the southeast the Gators have addressed a huge need with top level prospects like Tyron Hopper, Mohamoud Diabate, Diwun Black, and Lloyd Summerall all inside the top 250 players in the country according to 247 composite rankings. Each bringing their own unique skill set to the position group. With the team losing edge rusher Jachai Polite and linebacker Vosean Joseph to the NFL draft these young guys might be asked to contribute early on particularly Diabate who flashed great speed and bend around the edge in both his senior season and his short time at the All-American Bowl against some of the top offensive lineman in the country.
Defensive Line: (Jaelin Humphries)
The biggest weakness of this class by far is the defensive line. While the Gators did get a big-time player out of the state of Georgia in Jaelin Humphries they simply can’t close the class with just one defensive lineman. The Gators need both quality and quantity and unfortunately it looks like both of those are running thin as the final hour is approaching. The Gators have official visits lined up for a couple of blue-chip players in FSU commit Quashon Fuller and MSU commit Charles Moore, uncommitted prospect Smith Vilbert out of New Jersey as well as an offer that went out just the other day to Chigozie Nnoruka a grad transfer defensive lineman from UCLA. I’m sure we will see some more offers go out here over the next 4 weeks dependent upon how the staff feels on their primary targets. But they absolutely have to find a way to close strong.
Dan Mullen and the Florida staff has done an excellent job to this point of addressing the vast majority of the Gators needs. One thing that was very clear is that they made re-establishing the Lakeland HS pipeline a big priority and did exactly that by grabbing the three best that the school had to offer for the 2019 class.
You could argue that the defensive back class could be classified as a strength with the late addition of Steele, however I wouldn’t peg it that way just yet. But with guys like Kaiir Elam and FSU commit Travis Jay set to visit after the dead period is over, adding just one of those two could change that for the better.
You can follow Conner on Twitter @CJ_Clarke1.
(Above Photo From: USA Today Sports)