Back in March, Inside the Gators released a list of 25 in-state prospects that the Gator Nation needed to know heading into the spring months.
Off of the spring list, one committed to Florida, two committed elsewhere (though Florida is still recruiting one of them and he is on this list), five either no longer have the Gators among their finalists or the Gators are facing incredibly steep odds, leaving 17 still on the board to some degree.
To be clear, these aren’t 20 prospects Florida leads for or we are predicting will sign with the Gators, they are simply 20 in-state prospects in the Class of 2023 that the Gator Nation needs to keep an eye on over the next couple of months because they could see their rankings increase or decrease, garner more or less interest from Florida, move UF up or down their board, commit or de-commit or something else entirely different.
Basically, for various reasons, these 20 prospects bear watching.
Cedric Baxter Jr. - He was included in our Mock Class in early May, and could still be listed in the upcoming June edition. One thing we want to do is follow the visits in June, both official and unofficial to see if we can gain some clarity as to what he’s thinking. After spending some time at his school I left thinking it could be Florida, Miami or Texas and then afterward he tweeted out that he has added Alabama to the mix.
Malik Bryant - When Inside the Gators went to see him a few weeks ago for a spring practice he made it clear at that point that though he was making his announcement on July 23rd, he didn’t consider himself to be bound by the commitment he was going to be making on that date. He is scheduled to officially visit Florida next weekend and then Miami at the end of the month.
Jordan Hall - Like almost everyone else on today’s list, we will follow him mostly to see where he visits this summer. He tripped to Florida a couple of times over the spring and after the second visit it felt like the Gators had pulled ahead, but we’re still waiting on him to see where his official visits will go and if the majority will happen in the summer or will he wait until the fall?
Grayson Howard - One of the repeats from our 25 in-state prospects to keep an eye on pre-spring. Yes, Florida has been included on his recent top five (along with Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas A&M), but even after visiting last month, it doesn’t feel like the Gators are leading.
Ja'Keem Jackson - After Inside the Gators saw him in person a couple of weeks ago, we (me) surmised that it was doubtful Florida would have to go that far down its board to have to extend an offer. Two weeks later UF offered. He has some big out-of-state offers that bear watching, but even more so, will Florida get him on campus along with his teammates Derrick LeBlanc and John Walker over the summer? Then, as importantly, what happens with the top three kids on the board (and in the nation) at the position has to be monitored as well.
Update: He actually visited Florida on Tuesday along with his teammates and told ITG that he will likely return next week.
Kamran James - Vastly underrated in comparison to his offer list, at one time it looked like he could be all but a given for Florida, but new offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, and LSU has given him something to think about. The Gators will host him on an official visit in late June. A month ago I would have predicted that UF would be on a commitment watch that weekend, now it isn’t as cut-and-dry.
Andy Jean - After visiting Florida back in March, Jean told Inside the Gators that despite being committed (at that time) to Miami, he considered himself open to all possibilities. Not long afterward he decommitted from the Hurricanes and will officially visit UF in June.
Keon Keeley - Inside the Gators went to visit his high school a week ago, but were told that following guidelines set by his mother, he was taking a step back from recruiting, and the family was requesting that he not be interviewed until after spring practice and spring finals were in the books. Obviously, that is a sign that he is tired of the recruiting process to a degree. Does that in turn cause him to shut it down and stick with his Notre Dame commitment? Florida hosted him on campus over the spring, the Gators will need to get him back on campus this summer.
Payton Kirkland - If you want to dig a little deeper into it, Kirkland might just be the most consequential Florida target to follow this summer. Over the next two months, he is already scheduled to take four official visits and make his announcement (July 23rd).
Aidan Mizell - He just took a trip to Tennessee and has official visits set to Alabama, Florida, Georgia and then back to Tennessee this month. He's another player on this list who plans on making a summer pledge, giving the Gator Nation yet another reason to keep an eye on him over the summer.
Isaiah Nixon - I’m not sure where he would stand on the defensive end board, but keep in mind that the UCF commit also plays tight end. It will be interesting to see who spends more time with him when he makes it to campus this summer - will it be William Peagler or Mike Peterson?
Lucas Simmons - Here is a prime example of the difference in recruiting between the old and new staff. When he attended the Alabama game last year under the previous staff, he told Inside the Gators that he was basically invisible. Now, under this new regime, he has been on campus a few times and will have all five of his official visits over and done with by the end of June.
Daquayvious Sorey - Florida missed out on his cousin, linebacker Xavian Sorey two cycles ago, and haven’t really seemed to be pressing for Daquayvious. He visited campus last week, so there is a mutual interest, but there are probably a few wide out targets on the board ahead of him. His standing should become clear after summer decisions from Mizell and Eugene Wilson.
Marcus Stokes - A key date here will be June 18th. If Jaden Rashada doesn't commit to Florida on that date, the Gators will have to go in search of other options. Will they begin to press for Stokes, perhaps the best in-state quarterback in this cycle, at that point?
Makari Vickers - Florida just recently offered the four-star athlete out of Tallahassee. The previous UF staff was on him and was a finalist for his former teammate Terrion Arnold two cycles ago before he signed with Alabama. The Tide and Oklahoma are considered the top two for Vickers. The question being, with this late offer, can UF get him on campus this summer for at least an unofficial visit?
John Walker - Two months ago when he was included in the pre-spring 25 in-state prospects to keep an eye on, it felt like Florida was more of an afterthought with Walker. However, after visiting Gainesville a couple of times over the spring, the Gators are making a move up with him, even if he won't state that to be the case on the record. Now, UF has to continue to get him on campus over the summer to build a relationship with Sean Spencer after he told Inside the Gators two weeks ago that he plans on taking an official visit to Florida this fall.
Treyaun Webb - He’ll kick off his summer official visit tour with a stop in Gainesville this weekend with Florida clearly being the team to beat. I expect him to make all of his official visits, because he enjoys the process, but it wouldn’t be shocking if he were to silently commit to UF by Sunday.
Tyler Williams - Along with a handful of other programs, Florida is in the running, but the Gators are likely stranded in the middle of the pack right now and even with their traditional strong ties to the Lakeland program, an official visit isn’t a given. The Gators need to get him back on campus, perhaps in a camp or 7v7 setting.
Damon Wilson - I’ve communicated with him a couple of times via DM, and he doesn’t have a whole heck of a lot to say. Florida is recruiting him, but I’m not sure he has ever stepped foot on campus. That will obviously need to change this summer if the Gators are to become a factor for him. He will trip to Alabama and Texas A&M before visiting Florida mid-month. He wants to make his announcement before the end of summer, and coming off of that visit seems as good a time as any.
Eugene Wilson - He wants to take some visits, but he made it clear when Inside the Gators visited him at his high school two weeks ago that Florida sits in the driver’s seat to land his services.