Wednesday marks the beginning of the first early signing period for college football. Prospects from around the country will be shutting down their recruitment processes and signing a Letter of Intent to their program of choice.
Dan Mullen was introduced as the 27th head coach in Florida Gators history just three weeks prior to the inaugural signing period.
Despite seven de-commitments from the Gators 2018 recruiting class since Mullen’s arrival, the members of this staff have put Florida in a position to close out the early signing period with a profusion of momentum.
There are several prominent prospects that could find themselves in the #AllBite18 class come Wednesday, and Armchair examines the list of players below.
Transition periods between coaching staffs can disconnect and unravel a recruiting class. Florida has seen several top commits, most notably 4-star quarterback Matt Corral, reopen their recruitment process or pledge elsewhere.
However, Mullen and his staff have done a great job of bringing in several pieces of their own before the signing period. Florida currently has 12 commitments for the 2018 class, 10 of which plan on signing with the Gators come Wednesday.
These early enrollees quickly provide an amplitude of depth on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Running-back Dameon Pierce (Bainbridge, Ga.) highlights the offensive side of the current commits. The 4-star prospect never wavered on his commitment to the orange and blue.
Pierce owns a skill-set that will mold well into Mullen’s offensive scheme. Pierce has the ability to see the open hole and uses his speed to hit the second level, but he also possesses the strength to plow through defenders at the line of scrimmage.
The Gators secondary was weakened with injuries and inexperience during the 2017 football season. Both the previous regime and the new administration have made the defensive back, especially safety, position a priority in the 2018 class.
Florida currently has three safeties committed, with potentially one more joining the team. 3-star defensive back John Huggins is the latest prospect to commit to “DBU”.
Following his official visit to Gainesville over the weekend, Huggins decided to make his announcement on Sunday, before signing day.
Signing Day Prospects
QB Emory Jones (Franklin, Ga.) – Jones is arguably Florida’s most important prospect during the early signing period. Following a de-commitment from Matt Corral, Florida quickly turned its attention to the No. 4 dual threat quarterback in the country.
Jones (6-foot-3, 190-pounds) has been an Ohio State commit for several months, but with Dwayne Haskins proving he will be the starting quarterback next season, Jones has begun to show interest in other programs.
Jones was in Gainesville over the weekend for an official visit and then ventured to Tallahassee for another official visit at Florida State.
The opportunity of playing time awaits Jones in Gainesville, and many believe he will sign a Letter of Intent to the Gators on Wednesday.
Jones will make his decision at 11:30 a.m. ET between Florida, Florida State, Alabama and Ohio State.
DB Trey Dean (Hampton, Ga.) – Dean is another big-time prospect that seems to be eyeing the Gators more than other programs.
Dean de-committed from the Tennessee Volunteers two weeks ago, and since then the Gators have made landing the nation’s 22nd-ranked safety an important priority.
Dean (6-foot-2, 180-pounds) is a long, athletic defensive back that possesses a tremendous football IQ. His length at safety benefits him in jump ball situations, allowing him to make a play on the ball at its highest point.
Following an official visit to the Gators this past weekend, expect Florida to seal the deal with Dean. Mullen recently hired former Volunteers defensive backs coach Charlton Warren (the coach Dean originally committed to), making the pitch that much easier.
Dean would become the fourth safety in Florida’s 2018 class if he signs for the Gators on Wednesday. The staff made this unit a priority on the trail and it will pay off during the inaugural signing period.
Trey Dean’s announcement is at 1:45 p.m. ET and will be between Florida and Alabama.