Recruiting Quick Hitter: Four-star visitors

Quick Hitter: Stubbs, Watkins, Howard & Brown

by Mark Wheeler
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Please Read: Welcome to the new-look Inside the Gators


Hylton Stubbs
Jacksonville, Fla.
6-2 / 175

Despite their lack of sucess on the field, Jacksonville (Fla.) Mandarin safety Hylton Stubbs, the No. 67 ranked prospect in the nation according to the On3 Consensus, has made it clear that Florida is his outright leader.

“It was a great visit,” said Stubbs. “I got to catch up with Coach [Billy] Napier, [Will] Harris, [Austin] Armstrong, and Coach CJ [Wofford].”

While on campus Stubbs was able to watch Florida’s first spring practice.

“The practice looked real good,” said Stubbs. “LJ McCray is huge and DJ Lagway, [Derek] Wingo, [Kamran] James, [Treyaun] Webb, [Marcus] Burke, [Eugene] Wilson, and [Sharif] Denson looked really good.”

Practice aside, the visit was just another feather in the Gators’ cap.

“Florida’s atmosphere is always great,” said Stubbs. “I had a really good time.”

Once again, the UF staff let him know how much he is wanted – and the feeling is mutual.

“The coaches said I’m the priority for this class,” said Stubbs. “Florida is still the leader, but they have to win so the staff stays in place. I don’t want to a part of a program rebuild.”


Winston Watkins
Fort Myers, Fla.
5-10 / 175

Winston Watkins Jr., who was once committed to both Texas A&M and Colorado, visited Florida on Thursday for the first practice of the spring and told Inside the Gators that he spent most of his time with wide receiver support staff member David Doeker

“I just got the opportunity to watch them compete,” Watkins said of his visit. “I like them a lot and they should be in the mix with my recruiting.”

Watkins will still take several other visits this spring as he works toward figuring things out.

Along with Florida other programs he is scheduled to visit this spring include Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas. 

“No, I don’t have a leader in my recruitment,” he said when asked about a leaderboard.


Koby Howard
Davie, Fla.
5-11.5 / 175

In Recruit Reaction after Recruit Reaction last season, four-star receiver Koby Howard made it clear that he wanted to see Florida employ more of a down-field passing attack. When the Gators did that, he praised them. When they didn’t. Well.

His mixed reactions to Florida’s offensive scheme didn’t keep him from including the Gators in his recently released top eight.

Besides Florida, it also included Florida State, LSU, Miami, Missouri, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and Tennessee.

When asked why UF made the cut, he responded, “I love the way UF is recruiting me, how the coaches make me feel like a priority! I like the fact that they play guys early, plus I love the way they use [Eugene’ Wilson too.”

A couple of other things he thinks Florida has going for it include, “The swamp has a great game day atmosphere and the fans are some the best fans in the world.”

Howard said that he has faith that Florida’s coaching staff can help him get to the next level. “I believe in Coach [Billy] Gonzales. He can definitely develop me and help me reach my full potential.”

This weekend he will once again visit Gainesville, and then has plans to see Miami (3/16), Tennessee (3/23), FSU (3/28), Notre Dame (4/6) and LSU (4/13). He said he would like to try to get to Auburn, Georgia, Missouri and Ole Miss as well.


Vernell Brown III
Orlando, Fla.
5-10.5 / 165

One of the hottest names along the recruiting trail also just happens to be a Florida Gators legacy target. Vernell ‘Trey’ Brown III, the son of former UF cornerback and support staff member Vernell Brown, has seen his stock skyrocket this spring with outstanding outing after outstanding outing during 7-on-7 competitions.

In the course of a couple of months he has gone from being a borderline four-star to ranked inside of On3’s Consensus Top 100

Regardless of ranking, Florida has been on him for a while now. However, with his raised profile, the Gators will now have to fight off heavy hitters such as Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and others.

When asked why Florida is a finalist, he replied, “UF made the cut because it’s the University of Florida and they have made me feel like I am a priority for them.”

The coaching staff making sure he knows that he is wanted because of who he is, not who he is related to, has also played a part in UF’s positioning on his leaderboard.

“I have a really good relationship with both Coach [Billy] Napier and Coach [Billy] Gonzales. They both have made a point to make sure I understand that I am a priority and they want me because of the caliber player I am. Not because of my dad, or his playing, and working there.”

In between his 7-on-7 commitments and his sister’s track season, he will fit in visits seven visits this spring.

Syracuse (3/4)
UCF (3/13)
Georgia (3/14)
Ohio State (3/19)
FSU (3/23)
UF (3/30)
Miami (4/6)

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