The time has come. The Christmas of recruiting is finally here. In less than 24 hours, recruits will be signing their letters of intent and faxing them to their college of choice. The Florida Gators climbed the national rankings during the early signing period and aim to have a repeat performance on Wednesday. Florida currently checks in with the No. 18 class in the country, No. 5 in the SEC. With a strong signing day, the Gators could ultimately find themselves inside the top-10. Nine available spots remain in their 2018 class, so with three verbal commitments planning to sign, Florida is targeting to add six more prospects on Wednesday.
Before we get to my signing day predictions, here is a quick reminder for all of you wanting to tweet at high school players not choosing your program tomorrow — DON’T!
With being said, here is how I predict the Gators’ class finishing. The prospects I believe will sign are listed below in order of their commitment times.
DE/OLB Caleb Tannor (Lithonia, Ga.) 8:45 a.m.
Auburn’s been the team to beat for this 4-star prospect, but with the Tigers backing out at the last minute, Florida eyes to seal the deal with Tannor. He visited Gainesville on Jan. 19 and loved the environment the new staff has created. It will be either Florida or Nebraska for Tannor, and I expect the 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect to sign with the orange and blue.
WR Justin Watkins (Clermont, Fla.) 9:15 a.m.
The electrifying wide-out committed to the Gators on Jan. 20 and will be the first Gators pledge to sign Wednesday morning. Watkins is a consensus 4-star prospect and ranked as the nation’s No. 89 player.
OL Nicholas Petit-Frere (Tampa, Fla.) 10:00 a.m.
Every Gators fan will be up bright and early for this 5-star offensive lineman’s announcement. After a quiet recruitment, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan and Florida have an opportunity to snag the nation’s top-ranked offensive tackle. Florida feels confident the 6-foot-6, 272-pound tackle will stay in-state. Petit-Frere’s announcement will be televised live on ESPNU.
DE/OLB Andrew Chatfield (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 10:00 a.m.
After visiting Florida in the summer of 2017, the former regime believed Chatfield would end up in this class. However, after a season that spiralled out of control for the Gators, Chatfield kept his ears open to other programs. Miami is fighting hard to keep Chatfield in his hometown area, but I believe he will sign his letter intent to play for Coach Mullen and the Gators.
OL Griffin McDowell (Leesburg, Ga.) 10:00 a.m.
McDowell will be the second of three verbal commitments to sign his letter of intent Wednesday morning. The former Mississippi State pledge flipped his commitment following an official visit to The Swamp on Jan. 30.
CB Noah Boykin (Washington, D.C.) 11:30 a.m.
Following an official visit to Gainesville two weeks ago, Boykin backed off his commitment to Maryland. The lengthy, 6-foot-2, 170-pound defensive back knows the history Florida holds when it comes to churning out defensive backs to the NFL. Two former Gators defensive backs, Joe Haden and Jalen Tabor, are also from the “DMV” area and were drafted in the first and second rounds of the NFL Draft. Despite a late push from Notre Dame, Boykin signs his letter of intent with Florida.
WR Jacob Copeland (Pensacola, Fla.) 2:00 p.m.
If you follow Copeland on Twitter, you’re aware of his attention-grabbing tendencies. Wednesday could be another dramatic day for the nation’s No. 69 prospect, as he will be choosing between Florida and Alabama. Copeland took his last official visit to Gainesville, and the staff gave him the red-carpet treatment. The speedy receiver ultimately chooses Florida and makes a day-one impact. This will be the first year since 2003 that Florida has reeled in two wide-receivers ranked inside the top-100 list of overall players.
OL Richard Gouraige (Tampa, Fla.) 2:30 p.m.
Gators fans felt a little uneasy when Gouraige didn’t sign his early letter of intent during the early signing period. However, after a relentless pursuit from Auburn and Clemson, Florida is still the leader for the 4-star offensive lineman. Coach Mullen and his staff are positive Gouraige will play for his in-state school.
DE Dorian Gerald (Florence, S.C.) TBD
It certainly seemed like Gerald enjoyed his official visit over the weekend to Gainesville. The nation’s No. 1 junior college defensive end can make an immediate impact for the Gators. Florida’s new 3-4 scheme is a question mark for Gerald, but Todd Grantham told him he’d be used as a hand-in the dirt player. Arkansas and Texas A&M are the two other schools fighting for his signature. While all three schools are transitioning in a new coaching staff, I believe the new energy in The Swamp attracts Gerald to sign with the Gators.
If Florida lands these nine prospects tomorrow, it will have recorded one of the best transition class in Florida history. Now, let’s set back, crack a mid-week cold one, and enjoy the progress Coach Mullen and his staff have accomplished in a two-month period.