Jr. Day Recruiting Quick Hitter: Florida is a top school for IMG lineman

Quick Hitter: Wilkerson, Strayhorn & Ukponu

by Inside the Gators Staff
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The four recruiting services are split when it comes to ranking Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy offensive lineman Kaden Strayhorn. Two of them (ESPN & Rivals) ranked him as a four-star, and the other two (247 & On3) rated him as a three-star. College coaches on the other hand seem to be in complete agreement, with offers already in hand from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, and Texas among many others.

On Saturday the 6-foot-3, 300-pounder was back on campus once again, this time for Florida’s final Jr. Day of the 2025 cycle.

Arriving with his parents and little sister, Strayhorn said that the facilities and programs to bolster the player away from the field are what stood out to him.

“I learned about Gatormade, which is a program for life after football,” explained Strayhorn. The most impressive thing was the training room they have. It’s 10,000 square feet with cryo-therapy, a chiropractor, and massages.”

Besides interacting with Rob Sale and Darnell Singleton, Strayhorn said he spent time with a current Gators lineman as well.

Knijeah Harris, my old teammate, had only positive things to say.”

With offers from all over, Strayhorn isn’t quite ready to name a leader or leaders.

“I’ll be dropping top schools in a month or so,” said Strayhorn. “Florida is for sure one of my top schools.”

Strayhorn is the No. 409 ranked prospect in the nation according to the On3 Consensus.


It’s been over a decade since the last time Florida landed an offensive lineman from Orlando (Fla.) Lake Highland Prep. That lineman was 6-foot-9, 340-pound man mountain Max Starks, who went on to earn All-SEC honors as a Gator before playing a decade in the NFL.

Over the weekend UF played host to yet another huge lineman from the school, this time being 6-foot-7, 290-pound, Class of 2025 tackle Jaden Wilkerson.

He said he spent most of the day around two coaches in particular and they drilled into him what Florida is all about.

“I mostly spoke to Coach [Rob] Sale and Coach [Darnell] Stapleton,” explained Wilkerson. “Coach Stapleton said he really likes what he sees and that he will be up to visit my school during our spring practices. The highlight of my visit today was being able to see all that UF can do for a student-athlete, whether it’s needing help with homework, trying to lose or gain weight, or even just needing someone to talk to, they are always going to help you get to where you want to be.”

Wilkerson entered the weekend with offers from Central Florida and Miami. And those two are at the top of his leaderboard.

“I currently have six offers, with Miami currently being at the top of my list,” said Wilkerson. “My native school, UCF, is in a close second for me as of right now. Those are two huge programs that I think can get me to the next level.”

Florida could enter the picture if the Gators extend an offer.

“After visiting UF today I really could see myself playing at a place like that,” he said. “The culture is amazing and the staff is the best in the business. Also, who doesn’t wanna play in Florida?”


In this past cycle, Florida was able to dip into the Lonestar State and pull out highly coveted quarterback DJ Lagway. Could lightning possibly strike twice?

Denton (Tx.) Guyer defensive tackle Xavier Ukponu already had offers from instate programs Texas and Texas A&M as well as national programs such as Florida, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma, Oregon, Southern Cal, and many others.

Over the weekend UF played host to the 6-foot-3, 290-pounder.

“Coach [Gerald] Chatman and Coach [Kali] James talked about how they want to get me out of Texas,” said Ukponu. “I love what they have to offer. I liked how they care about you more than just being a player.”

He said that two things stuck out to him.

“I spoke with Cam Jackson and hearing the player’s point of view and talking technique with Coach Chatman are the highlights.”

Ukponu isn’t ready to publicly name a leaderboard, but he does unofficially have Florida high on his list.

“I have leaders for sure,” he said. “I will say Florida is up there.”

Along with the Gators, he said Texas A&M, LSU, Oregon, Baylor, Kansas, Southern Cal, and Cal were other programs he is high on.

Ukponu is the No. 602 rated prospect in the nation according to the On3 Consensus.

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